Yet another successful year comes to an end, the year which witnessed some swashbuckling performances from the Indian veterans and youngsters. Men in Blue won five out of six T20I series they featured in 2018.
They started their year with impressive 2-1 victory over the Proteas, which was followed by the extraordinary performance in Tri-Nation Nidahas Trophy. Then swept the mighty Irelanders before pecking the buoyant English side in their own den. Even the T20I champions West Indies failed to stop the Indian juggernaut and eventually lost 3-0.
Towards the business end of the year, the last series Blues featured was against new-look Australia. The only series to end in a draw, thanks to heavenly rains which played the spoilsport in the second T20I. Overall India featured in 19 T20 International fixtures during the year and lost just four of those, with one being abandoned due to rain.
India posses a huge talent in cricket and as a result, there's always a chance for new ones to make their way into the squad. While some went on to make it a regular affair, others faded away just after few outings.
So without much ado, let's take a look into those players, who made their T20I debut for India in 2018.
#6 Shardul Thakur
India's T20I cap no.73, Shardul Thakur made his T20I debut against the Proteas in the second match of T20I series between India and South Africa. The pacer grabbed the opportunity with both hands and picked up his first T20I wicket of Reeza Hendricks in the second over. As a result, he was given chance in Nidahas Trophy, where he grabbed six wickets in five games, with his best performance being 4/27 against Sri Lanka.
In his overall career, the pacer featured in seven T20 international fixtures picking up eight wickets at an average of 30.25 and economy rate of 8.80.
Despite picking wickets in few games, the bowler was quite expensive on most occasions and with the come back of India's frontline bowler, Jasprit Bumrah, he failed to make his way into the playing squad.
#5 Vijay Shankar
The all-rounder from Tamil Nadu, Vijay Shankar made his T20I debut against Sri Lanka in the opening fixture of Nidahas Trophy 2018. Shankar was included into the squad on the basis of his performance in the domestic circuit and was seen as a backup option of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
But he failed to replicate his domestic charm on the international stage. In his five T20I outings during Nidahas Trophy, the 27-year-old managed to pick just three wickets at a below-par average of 51 runs and an economy rate of nine. After a sub-par performance in the tri-series, the all-rounder failed to make his way back into the squad.
Shankar is currently plying his trade for Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy and was quite impressive in recently concluded Deodhar Trophy to finish as highest wicket-taker, with seven wickets in three games.
#4 Siddarth Kaul
Siddarth Kaul was the pick of the bowlers in the 2018 season of the IPL with Sunrisers Hyderabad. The medium pacer picked 21 wickets at an average of 26.04. With India aiming to test their bench strength, Kaul was drafted quickly into the Indian T20I squad after IPL.
On 29 June 2018, He made his Twenty20 International debut for Men in Blues for the second T20I against Ireland. The 28-year-old from Punjab grabbed the opportunity and picked up an important wicket of Irish opener James Shannon in his very first over, to end his day with economical figures of 1/4.
Later on, he got another chance in the third T20I against England and the Punjab lad once again impressed everyone with his wicket-taking abilities by picking up crucial wicket Jos Buttler and Liam Plunkett. The bowler has not been able to crack into the playing XI since then, but he has already proved his worth and can be seen back in Indian colors sooner than later.
#3 Deepak Chahar
Another player to make his T20I debut during India's tour of England was Deepak Lokandersingh Chahar. The Agra-born medium pacer was drafted into the playing XI for third T20 International against England. In his debut match, he dismissed the English opener, Jason Roy, but gave away too many runs in his spell of four overs to end with figures of 1/43.
Due to intense competition for few available slots, the medium pacer has found it difficult to get opportunities. He currently represents the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League. The bowler had a decent season with the franchise last season, picking up ten wickets at an average of 27.80 and economy rate of 7.28. As a result, he has been retained by Chennai for the upcoming IPL season which could give him more opportunities to prove his credentials in the shortest format.
#2 Khaleel Ahmed
In September 2018, India's T20I cap no.77, Khaleel Ahmed made his T20I debut against the Caribbeans in the opening fixture of T20I series between India and West Indies at the iconic Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata. The pacer made full use of this golden chance and picked up his first T20I wicket of Fabien Allen towards the end, and was quite economical in his spell of four overs, giving away just 16 runs. Though he didn't stop there and come out with a much better performance in the next game, and dismissing their openers Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer in consecutive overs.
The left-arm has been a consistent number 11 since then and was also included in playing XI for T20I series against Australia, where he grabbed three wickets in three games, with his best performance being 2/39 in the second game. The Rajasthan lad is set to represent the national team in more games in near future.
#1 Krunal Pandya
The last player to feature in the list of 2018 T20I debutants for India is Krunal Himanshu Pandya, brother of well known Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has been a consistent performer for Mumbai Indians in IPL.
Krunal made his T20I debut for India against the West Indies alongside Khaleel Ahmed. The all-rounder made a blistering start to his T20I career, picking up his maiden wicket in Kieron Pollard to end with figures of 1/15 in four overs and scoring 21 runs off just nine balls. But failed to replicate his show in next games.
Despite this, seeking his all-rounder abilities, he was selected in T20I squad for Australia and featured in all three matches. In the first match, he conceded 55 runs in four overs. But he made a good comeback in the last two matches and was declared Man of the match his bowling performance 4/36 in the last T20I.