With several big players rested for the five ODIs, the likes of Mohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu and Parvez Rasool have been given a chance at making their international debuts.
India's previous tour to Zimbabwe, in the summer of 2010 for a tri-series also featuring Sri Lanka, saw several new players make their ODI debuts. Among them were the pace bowling trio of Umesh Yadav, Ashok Dinda and R Vinay Kumar, each of whom has played for India several time since then; Umesh, in fact, has become a big part of the bowling attack.
India's squad for the upcoming five ODIs starting July 24 also features several young faces, with the chance to impress possibly meaning more exposure at the international level. Here, Cricketnext picks out five uncapped (yet to play ODI cricket) players to watch.
Mohit Sharma Unknown to those outside the domestic cricket scene, the young Haryana pace bowler made himself known to the IPL audience with 20 wickets in the 2013 season, taking the new ball for Chennai Super Kings and striking consistently at the top. Sharma had an excellent second game against Delhi in which finished with 3 for 10 in three overs as CSK hammered the home team by 86 runs, and carried that form throughout the tournament. The 24-year-old remained MS Dhoni's preferred bowler inside the Powerplays and successfully delivered blows with the new ball. For a transfer made almost anonymously during the off-season, Sharma finished the IPL as one of the success stories. Now, against a weak Zimbabwe side, he has a chance to impress at ODI level.
Parvez Rasool Rasool is the perfect example of a 'small-town' boy making it big on the international stage, as he looks set to become the first cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to play for India. It was the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season that marked the start of all the right moves made by the 24-year-old offspinner who is a useful batsman and was introduced to cricket by his father. His 594 runs and 33 wickets opened the Team India nets to him, and after impressing Dhoni & Co, Rasool got the ticket to the Board President's XI squad against the visiting Australians. Figures of 7 for 45 in that game put him firmly in the eyes of Indian selectors. As the third spinner in India's squad behind Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra, Rasool could well make his ODI debut in the five-match series.
Ambati Rayudu This is the first ODI call-up for Rayudu, who was touted as India material early in his career. His only previous opportunity with the Indian team was when Rayudu was called up as a replacement for two Twenty20 internationals against England in 2012, but he did not debut. The Zimbabwe tour offers the Hyderabad-turned-Baroda middle-order batsman a stronger shot at making his debut at the international level. Some will say this is a long overdue call-up. Rayudu hasn't played 50-over cricket since March when he helped West Zone lift the Deodhar Trophy.
Cheteshwar Pujara Pujara, who has played 13 Tests already, looks to be in line for an ODI debut after being recalled to the limited-overs side. The 25-year-old batsman averages 56.97 across 61 List A matches, and his run of form in last year's domestic Challenger Trophy - 158*, 124& and 79 at a strike-rate of 107 - indicates that he can score fast in 50-over cricket. After dazzling at Test level, will it be Pujara's chance to shine in ODIs?
Jaydev Unadkat In 2010, the left-arm pacer was taken to South Africa where he made his Test debut at Centurion, only to be promptly discarded after a wicketless outing. Now, as part of the ODI squad with Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar rested, Unadkat will in all probability take one of the two new balls when the series starts in Harare. How much he has developed since he played for India the last time remains to be seen, but if his success in IPL 6 for Royal Challengers Bangalore is any indication, Unadkat has gained in confidence and has a good repertoire of deliveries.
Have your say: Do you think the youngsters will impress in Zimbabwe?