A rejuvenated India would look for a winning start to the new season against a strong Sri Lanka as the two sides clash in a five-match ODI series starting here on Saturday.
Barring the Indian Premier League (IPL), Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men have not been in action since their last international outing in South Africa in March.
For the Sri Lankans, it would just be the continuation of the good yields in the series against Pakistan.
“We have just finished a good series against Pakistan. It is now for us to build on the good work,” Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene said.
The Lankan captain said the series should provide a good basis to launch the World T20 campaign.
“We have got a few new players in the squad, this series would be a good opportunity for them,” Jayawardene said.
The Indian captain said the near two months break the players have had since the IPL would serve them well as the team aims to win the series.
Dhoni made no secret of India’s ambitions in the next tour to the emerald isle, the world Twenty20. He was happy that most of the players in the touring team would form the nucleus of the side for the world T20.
Vice-captain Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma would be the players to watch out for apart from comeback men — opener Virender Sehwag and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan.
Vinay Kumar’s injury, which put Irfan Pathan back in the squad, seemed to have silenced the argument that the Indians were lacking a genuine all-rounder in the squad.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin would also look to make an impression on the spin-friendly tracks here.
For the Lankans, Rangana Herath returns to the side having been rested for the final ODI against Pakistan.
Chamara Kapugedera is the other ‘comeback boy’ in the One-Day squad.
Thisara Perera too has come of age as the leading all rounder.
He will be raring to go against the Indians and the tourists will remember him for his last over assault against Zaheer Khan in the World Cup final of 2011.
The teams (from):
India: M.S. Dhoni (capt.), V. Kohli (vice-capt.), G. Gambhir, S. Raina, V. Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, R. Ashwin, P. Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, A. Dinda, Irfan Pathan, A. Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma.
Sri Lanka: M. Jayawardene (capt.), Angelo Mathews (vice-capt.), T. Dilshan, K. Sangakkara, U. Tharanga, D. Chandimal, N. Kulasekara, T. Perera, L. Thirimanne, L. Malinga, C. Kapugedara, R. Herath, S. Senanayake, J. Mendis, Isuru Udana.
Match starts at 2.30 p.m. (IST).