3 changes India should make for 3rd T20I against New Zealand

New Zealand v India - 1st ODI
Umran Malik could return to the side for the series decider in Ahmedabad.

After whitewashing New Zealand in the One Day Internationals, India will be looking to end the tour on a high by clinching the T20I series as well. The three-match T20I series is currently at level, with the decider set to be played in Ahmedabad on February 1.

With the series on the line, the Men in Blue will want to finish on a high before the focus shifts to the Border-Gavaskar Trophy next week. With that in mind, the team might also look to make a few changes to give some players a rest, which means others might get an opportunity.

On that note, we take a look at three changes India should make for the 3rd T20I against New Zealand:

#1 Prithvi Shaw for Ishan Kishan

After finally earning a recall to the Indian side, Prithvi Shaw has had to wait for his opportunity to make it into the playing eleven. He should get the nod ahead of Ishan Kishan in this contest, considering the lean run of form the left-hander has been in.

In his last seven matches, Kishan has scored only 109 runs at a strike rate of 94.78. His last half-century in the shortest format came against South Africa in June last year. With Shaw breathing down his neck, time might be running out for the Mumbai Indians batter.

#2 Umran Malik for Yuzvendra Chahal

With a slow pitch in Lucknow, Hardik Pandya and Co. opted to give Yuzvendra Chahal a go, ahead of Umran Malik in the second T20I. The leg spinner justified the inclusion with a top performance with the ball, delivering two overs in the Powerplay with figures of 4/1, which included a maiden as well.

Based on that performance, dropping the leg-spinner might be slightly harsh considering he didn't do much wrong. However, the pitch at Ahmedabad is expected to be more conducive to pacers and a speed merchant like Umran could be more of a threat for the Kiwi batters.

#3 Jitesh Sharma for Deepak Hooda

If Ishan Kishan does miss out, India will naturally look to draft another keeper into the starting eleven. Jitesh Sharma is their only option in the squad to take the gloves after making it to the squad on the back of impressive performances in the domestic circuit and also in the IPL.

With India having the luxury of seven bowling options in the third T20I, they can afford to drop Deepak Hooda for an extra batter. Jitesh is also more of a defined finisher as compared to Hooda, and that could work in his favor, with the Punjab Kings wicketkeeper slotting in at the number six slot.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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