The men in blue are all set to field two debutants, Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, during the first One-Day International against New Zealand on Wednesday after captain Virat Kohli confirmed that KL Rahul will continue to bat in the middle order.
Regular opener Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the T20Is and ODIs last month against Australia due to an injury. His partner Rohit Sharma was also ruled out of the ODIs and the following Tests on Tuesday due to a calf muscle strain, leaving no choice but to change the opening combination.
KL Rahul will keep wickets and bat in the middle order like he did during the Australia series, the Indian skipper said on Tuesday.
"Prithvi's definitely going to start and whoever the replacement is, we'll ask for an opener (which has already been decided with Agarwal replacing Rohit). KL will bat in the middle-order. We want him to get accustomed to that role and keep as well," said Kohli.
The 31-year-old stated that Rohit’s absence does not hold back the team’s preparatory measures as there are not many ODIs lined up in the year of T20I World Cup.
"I understand it's an unfortunate situation that Rohit can't be a part of this series. When you talk about one-day cricket and T20 cricket and Test cricket now, he's one guy who's always on the list first. But the thing is that we don't have any one-day tournaments to look forward to.
"It's if anything an ideal time for him to go away and rectify this as soon as he can and come back. He played the T20I series, so from the team's balance point of view heading into the World Cup year, it doesn't really hamper the combination as far as the T20s are concerned," he said.
The Black Caps will also be missing their skipper Kane Williamson and pacemen Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson.
The Indian skipper stated that ODIs this year are all about opportunities to fresh players across both teams.
"Quite surprising (that Williamson is missing) because he said he felt better. But I know with the AC joint (left shoulder), I've had it as well. Unless you get into the action, it's very difficult to make a judgement of how much pain you feel. Especially for a batsman, if the shoulder is not right, it can hurt you.
"So I'm sure he's not in a shape to take the field. As I said, one-day games this year is all about whoever gets the opportunity what they can do in the team combination and not necessarily about whether the chances of winning or losing wary or not. That's what we are looking at as well," said the Indian skipper.
Virat Kohli further stated that injuries to Rohit and Dhawan are a good chance for Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal.
"Rohit's injury is unfortunate but someone who steps in, it's a chance for that guy to experience this kind of pressure and expectation, and for us to see who are the guys that cope with it. Kane has done it so many times, and you know what he can do.
"So someone who gets the chance, it'll be an opportunity for the team to see how he copes with that pressure. I see it that way. I see it as an opportunity for others rather than looking at it negatively," he added.