Opportunity knocks in Harare for India fringe players


India's second-string players will seek to make a timely impression on Saturday in the first of three one-day internationals against Zimbabwe in Harare.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) opted to pick almost entirely different squads for the limited-overs meetings with Zimbabwe and a Test tour of West Indies, which starts in July. KL Rahul is the only man called up for both assignments.

As a result, MS Dhoni - who no longer plays in the longest format - is comfortably the most experienced player available to interim head coach Sanjay Bangar in Zimbabwe, the skipper boasting considerably more caps than the rest of the squad put together.

India will name a new full-time head coach ahead of the West Indies Tests, offering an additional incentive for those looking to seize any opportunities that come their way over the coming fortnight in three ODIs and as many T20s.

Rahul has yet to be capped in white-ball cricket, while Yuzvendra Chahal, Faiz Fazal, Karun Nair, Mandeep Singh and Jayant Yadav could all make their international debuts for India.

Hosts Zimbabwe, who are missing injured seamer Tinashe Panyangara, come into the series on the back of wholesale changes.

Coach Dav Whatmore and captain Hamilton Masakadza were relieved of their leadership roles at the end of last month following a board review into the team's disappointing showing at the World Twenty20.

Masakadza has nevertheless been retained as a player, but leg-spinner Graeme Cremer will now lead a team coached by former South Africa paceman Makhaya Ntini.

Saturday's opening ODI will be followed by further 50-over matches at Harare Sports Club on Monday and Wednesday.