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Ireland vs India, 1st T20I 2018 preview - Dress rehearsal for Kohli's men before England challenge

Aadya Sharma
FEATURED WRITER
Feature
618   //    27 Jun 2018, 15:43 IST

India will be playing their 100th T20I at Malahide
India will be playing their 100th T20I at Malahide

The Village, as the Malahide Cricket Ground is also known as, will play host to the visiting Indian team, warming their soles ahead of the arduous marathon tour of England. Against them will be the Irish team, one of the two newest entrants to Test cricket, but dubbing the clash as a 'warm-up', especially in the fickle T20I format, would be an invitation to complacency.

India's bigwigs have hardly been on international duty in the past few months, having absorbed themselves into the razzle-dazzle of IPL after the Nidahas win and following it with a polite detour to welcome Afghanistan to the game's purest format.

It's the game's shortest form, but the Indians are banking heavily on experience - in MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik, a major chunk of their batting lineup has been playing T20s for over a decade now.

Sharma, incidentally, made his international debut, the last time India visited Ireland (in 2007).

In the bowling department, the side has summoned Siddarth Kaul, who has been a cunning middle-over medium pacer and can be handy in the conditions in the United Kingdom. Umesh Yadav hasn't played a single T20I since 2012 but has looked a changed bowler for the Royal Challengers this season.

The side might go with two pacers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, and press in the services of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav against the Irish side that could be tested against the spin duo. Suresh Raina, with his part-time off-spin, can also be a handy option.

Home skipper Gary Wilson has with ample experience on his side as well - William Porterfield provides much-needed stability at the top, while Kevin O'Brien, seven years after turning heads during the World Cup in India, brings in flamboyance in the middle-order. Boyd Rankin's skiddy pace could test the Indian top-order in favourable conditions.

Buried in the experienced names is 31-year-old Simranjit Singh, a Punjab-born off-spinner, who grew up close to the Mohali stadium, but went to Ireland to study, and eventually settled there. His match-up against his country of birth could add some flavour to the game.

India could have a minor injury issue to deal with, as Washington Sundar reportedly hurt his ankle during a football session, and had to limp out.

Squads:

India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Siddarth Kaul.

Ireland: Gary Wilson (captain/wicket-keeper), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Josh Little, Andy McBrine, Kevin O'Brien, William Porterfield, Stuart Poynter, Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Simranjit Singh, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson.


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Aadya Sharma
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