Match Preview – India vs England, England tour of India 2020/21, 1st ODI

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In the year of the T20 World Cup and the inaugural World Test Championship final, most bilateral ODI series are expected to fly under the radar and this India-England series is no different. After being close to their full-strength in the T20I leg of the India tour, England will be without three of their 2019 World Cup heroes – Joe Root (rested), Jofra Archer (injured) and Chris Woakes (rested) – for the three-ODI series. It’s not an entirely context-free series, though, with World Cup Super League points up for grabs.

This is a chance for England to take their first steps towards prepping for their 50-over World Cup defence in 2023 in India and test out the likes of Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Liam Livingstone and Reece Topley, who didn’t feature in the T20I series at all. In the absence of Root, their second-highest scorer behind Eoin Morgan in ODIs, England need to choose between Ali, Billings, Livingstone and Ben Stokes for the No. 3 spot.

Livingstone, who is uncapped in ODI cricket, looks a decent bet, having opened for Lancashire and more recently for the Perth Scorchers in their run to the Big Bash League final. But then again, England could bump Stokes up to No. 3 and slip in Billings as a finisher, something that Dinesh Karthik suggested on Sky Sports during the T20I series.

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