Cricket - India set for ODI series without Sachin

India will begin life without Sachin Tendulkar when they host Pakistan in their ground-breaking one-day international series over the next week.

Tendulkar, 39, called time on his record-shattering 50-over career earlier this month, leaving India with a giant-sized hole to fill in their batting line-up as they prepare for their World Cup defence. India have just over two years to find a replacement for a player who scored a world record 18,526 ODI runs in 463 appearances for his country.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side are, at least, hardly short on candidates to try and fill the role with the likes of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane set to draw the focus of attention after standing in the shadows of Tendulkar at the start of their careers.

Of that trio, Kohli looks the most equipped to handle the pressure set to fall upon India's young batsmen following his stellar 2012.

The 24-year-old is third in the list of ODI run scorers this year with 1,026 runs, and five centuries, in just 16 games. The two men in front of him, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan, have played almost double the number of matches yet could be caught before the year's end.

While Kohli has busied himself becoming India's hero-in-waiting over the past 12 months it could be that a man who has not played since last year's World Cup success is their most important player in the post-Tendulkar era.

Amid the many stories to prelude Pakistan's first bi-lateral tour of India in almost five years the return of veteran Yuvraj Singh to the 50-over squad has almost been overlooked.

The 31-year-old has recovered from his cancer battle, which left him hospitalised in America, to make an emotional return to India colours in recent months.

While his return has not been smooth sailing, he had mixed results as India lost the Test series against England 2-1, he reminded all of his destructive class in Friday's second Twenty20 against Pakistan.

Yuvraj's unbeaten 72 from 36 balls, which included seven sixes, blasted India to a Twenty20 series-levelling win and marked him as a man who can hold the fortunes of India's limited overs teams.