Team India have played a lot of T20I cricket over the last few years, with two T20 World Cups headlining the post-pandemic cricketing calendar. But the shortest format of the game is expected to take a backseat in the ongoing calendar year.
The ODI World Cup and the World Test Championship final are on the horizon, and India are firm favorites for both. The Men in Blue are not expected to play a T20I game until after the 2023 Indian Premier League, when they travel to the West Indies.
Even after the T20I assignment against the Windies, India don't have many T20I fixtures to worry about. As a result, a few shortest-format specialists who were in the mix during the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand might not taste international action for a considerable amount of time.
Here are three Indian T20I players who might not be seen in action in international cricket for a while.
#3 Shivam Mavi
Shivam Mavi has played six T20Is for Team India, having picked up seven wickets at an economy rate of 8.78 in those games. He has even contributed 28 runs at a strike rate of 155.55 in two innings. However, the youngster might not play an international game in the upcoming months.
Mavi is arguably more suited to the longer formats of the game, but he hasn't been called up to India's squad outside T20Is. The 24-year-old is unlikely to make the step up as he hasn't impressed much in the limited opportunities he has gotten to bowl for the Men in Blue.
Mavi's biggest asset is his batting ability, and the likes of Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar will be ahead of him in the ODI pecking order. It could be a while before we see him play for Team India.
#2 Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw earned a long-awaited recall to the national side for the T20I series against New Zealand. But the dashing opener spent the assignment on the bench, with Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill opening the batting in all three matches.
Shaw has played both ODIs and Tests for India, but he's not in the mix for either format right now. The likes of Gill have solidified their places in the side across formats, and the Men in Blue have a number of openers who are knocking on the door with a mountain of runs.
Shaw is a T20I specialist as of now, and Gill's maiden century in the third T20I should keep him out for a bit longer. The 23-year-old might have to wait a bit longer to add to his 12 international appearances.
#1 Jitesh Sharma
India are short of wicket-keepers who can displace the existing order in the T20I format. Rishabh Pant is out of action with injury; KL Rahul has major issues with intent; Ishan Kishan is in a miserable run of form; Sanju Samson is currently recuperating from a knee injury.
Jitesh Sharma is one of the few Indian glovemen to have made a genuine impact in T20 cricket, both on the domestic front and in the Indian Premier League. The dynamic batter is a capable finisher who offers something unique to any side he is a part of, and is probably the closest India will come to a like-for-like replacement for Dinesh Karthik.
But Jitesh isn't anywhere in the mix for the longer formats, and by the time India play a T20I again, the likes of Samson and Rahul are bound to be back in the fold. The 29-year-old might still make India's squad, but his debut might not be forthcoming.
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