England vs India 2018: Five players for whom the T20I series is very crucial
After conquering the Irish Isle convincingly the Indian team is now headed to the land of the Britons with hopes of a series victory across formats higher than ever. Given the current bunch of players, especially those who can kill with the ball in their hands, it is not wrong to say that their hopes are not ill-founded. But unless they make light of what is a revamped English side, they may fall well short of what they have come so far from home for. The hosts have a batting line-up as formidable as the visitors. And, as far as their bowlers are concerned, they will just be one Indian collapse short of bringing to life the ghosts of batting in swinging conditions that have haunted Indians in the past. It is hard to foresee the victors yet but, one thing is a surety- the matches will be exciting to the hilt.
This tour of England, especially the limited-overs contest, is being seen as a prelude to India's campaign at the World Cup next year, which will be hosted by England & Wales. It is therefore vital for the players to adapt to the conditions and get as much match practice in English conditions.
While the upcoming T20I series is crucial for the team as a whole, it is equally important for a few players for their own reasons. As some players compete against each other to secure their place in the squad, others will look to leaving their demons behind and making it big in series. This T20I series will be the deciding factor when the selectors meet to decide upon the T20 squad for the Australian tour. Only time will tell as to who are the players who will leverage the opportunity they get in this series. Here's a list of five players who need to lap up the chances they get in this crucial series.
#5 Suresh Raina
A veteran of many on-field battles, Raina comes into the T20I side hoping to win the battle for a spot in the Indian middle-order. Despite his heroics in the second T20I against Ireland, his place in the squad remains in jeopardy. His 69 off 45 against a weak Irish attack may have secured his spot for a couple of matches more but, if he fails in this T20I series, he might be ousted from the side.
Raina's inclusion in the middle-order means that any one of Dinesh Karthik, KL Rahul, and Manish Pandey has to sit out. Given the form that Karthik and Rahul are in it becomes all the more crucial for him to make a mark in the series and justify his selection. Moreover, the competition is only going to get more intensive when Kedhar Jadhav makes a comeback.
Raina's experience will be handy for India in the World Cup. But for him to make it to the World Cup squad he has to back his chances with consistent performances. Experience won't be enough for breaking into the World Cup squad. This T20I series, and the ODI series thereafter, will be his litmus test. If he passes it with flying colours he will move one step ahead in making it to the World Cup squad.