Colombo [Sri Lanka], July 17 (ANI): India might have picked a plethora of young guns for the Sri Lanka series but the visitors will still start as favourites when the two teams lock horns in the first ODI to kick-start the white-ball series on Sunday.
While Shikhar Dhawan has been named the captain for the Sri Lanka tour, Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be his deputy with former skipper Rahul Dravid coaching the side.
Despite the absence of star players such as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, and Jasprit Bumrah, India is well ahead of Sri Lanka considering the visitors' squad comprises of Dhawan, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar and Deepak Chahar.
And not to forget, the young guns who have proved themselves time and again in the Indian Premier League (IPL). They will be looking to make a mark on the big stage having already impressed in the cash-rich league. Coach Dravid has made it clear that the visitors will focus on winning the Sri Lanka series and not everybody could get to play all matches.
Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar feels the upcoming limited-overs series will be crucial for the players who are yet to cement a place in the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup.
Last month, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) suspended Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, and Danushka Gunathilaka for breaching the bio-bubble in the UK. While Dasun Shanaka will captain the side for the upcoming ODI and T20I series against India, SLC on Friday confirmed that Kusal Perera will not be able to take part in the series owing to a right shoulder sprain.
Last week, former Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews opted out of the upcoming series. The absence of big names have further dented Sri Lanka's chances to give India a fight in the white-ball leg. Former Sri Lanka all-rounder Farveez Maharoof feels India will start as favourites in the upcoming ODI series but expects the hosts to "pull their socks up and put up a fight" following a disappointing England tour.
India squad: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, Krishnappa Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya
Sri Lanka squad: Dasun Shanaka (capt), Dhananjaya DD Silva (vice-capt), Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ashen Bandara, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Udara, Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya, Shiran Fernando, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Ishan Jayaratne, Praveen Jayawickrama, Asitha Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana. (ANI)