Deepak Chahar's unavailability due to an ankle injury will complicate selection matters with India looking for a much-improved bowling performance in the must-win second ODI against South Africa, in Ranchi, on Sunday.
Never before a bilateral ODI series has looked so out of context with the T20 World Cup in Australia beginning later this month.
All eyes are now on Rohit Sharma and his men, who have already checked into Perth for their T20 World Cup warm-up matches.
The three-match ODI series in India offers little incentive to the fringe players who missed the flight to Australia. But with Chahar injuring his ankle ahead of the first ODI in Lucknow and his back troubling him again, it gives India plenty of soul-searching to do on Sunday.
Mohammad Siraj and Avesh Khan have so far failed to impress and that might open the door for uncapped Bengal pacer Mukesh Kumar.
On the batting front, it will be important for Shreyas Iyer to get some runs under his belt at the top as he is among the reserve batters for the T20 World Cup.
Iyer, who was named vice-captain for the series, bailed India out of a top-order collapse on Thursday. Known for his weakness against short balls and slow strike rate against the pacers, he played a counter-attacking knock.
But the biggest positive for India out of the first ODI was the performance of Sanju Samson, who hasn’t been able to cement his place in the team seven years after his debut.
His 63-ball 86 oozed maturity and offered a sense of calmness in the middle-order as he took calculated risks in India's narrow defeat.
The happy-go-lucky Shikhar Dhawan has already shown his leadership potential with a second stride in the West Indies and Sri Lanka. He will hope he returns among the runs to give the team a solid start, while the talented Shubman Gill will also try to reaffirm his credentials as an ODI opener.
Unlike India, the Temba Bavuma-led South Africa have much to play for with crucial Super League points on offer which will give them automatic qualification for the next year's ODI World Cup.
Personally, Bavuma is going through the worst phase of his career, having had scores in the series reading 0, 0, 3 (T20s) and 8 at Lucknow.
With the T20 World Cup coming up in two weeks' time, the Proteas skipper is surely looking to find form in quick time.
David Miller has proved to be the nemesis for India this series with an unbeaten century in Guwahati and 75 not out in the last match and the left-hander will be looking to continue his rich form.
The Kagiso Rabada-led pace attack, which copped criticism in the preceding T20 series, also looks to be back in business.
India: Shikhar Dhawan (Captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Avesh Khan, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammad Siraj, Deepak Chahar, Mukesh Kumar, Rajat Patidar, Shahbaz Ahmed and Rahul Tripathi.
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (Captain), Janneman Malan, Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Anrich Nortje and Andile