India won the ODI series by a 2-1 margin, with the visitors putting up a tough fight in the final two games. The third ODI saw the Men in Blue rest several first-choice players and hand out as many as five caps, showing that they aren't afraid to lose games due to a clear understanding of the bigger picture.
India are intent on assembling an army of world-class international cricketers, but they might not be too keen on experimentation in the T20I series against Sri Lanka. It's their final international assignment ahead of the T20 World Cup, and many players need a run of games to show what they're made of.
Here are three Indian players who might be on the bench for the entirety of the T20I series against Sri Lanka.
#3 Nitish Rana
Nitish Rana received his maiden call-up to the Indian team for this Sri Lanka tour, and he made his ODI debut a couple of days ago. However, the team management's plan for him to play at No. 7 as a batting all-rounder didn't bear fruit. Rana scored only seven runs before being outfoxed by Akila Dananjaya and bowled three wicketless overs.
Now, in the T20I format, there's no place for Rana in the team. The top five slots are all occupied by specialist batsmen like Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, all of whom did well at some stage of the ODI series.
Rana might have to wait a long time before getting another opportunity to don the India blue.
#2 Kuldeep Yadav
This Sri Lanka assignment was expected to be Kuldeep Yadav's lifeline. But halfway through the tour, it wouldn't be a stretch to claim that he has had another disappointing outing for India, despite barely any fault of his own.
Kuldeep played the first two ODIs, picking up two wickets in the series opener and going wicketless in the second. The need of the hour was for him to get a continuous run of matches, but he was dropped in the final ODI as India moved towards rotation.
The T20I format hasn't been Kuldeep's cup of tea over the last few years. He has warmed the Kolkata Knight Riders' bench for two seasons now, with very few wickets to show for whenever he has been granted a rare chance in the playing XI.
With other options like Rahul Chahar and Yuzvendra Chahal ahead of him in the pecking order, the left-arm wrist-spinner may not take to the field. Varun Chakravarthy is all but certain to be handed a debut, and Krunal Pandya's batting ability ensures that he will be the third spinner.
Kuldeep might warm the bench throughout the T20I series against Sri Lanka.
#1 Manish Pandey
At the end of the ODI series, the consensus among most fans was that Manish Pandey had probably played his last 50-over game for India. Has the 31-year-old played not only his last ODI but also his last international game for the team?
Sanju Samson scored a fluent 46 on ODI debut. Ishan Kishan notched up a magical counter-attacking fifty in his first ODI appearance as well. Suryakumar Yadav walked away with the Man of the Series award after his first three outings in the format.
Starting from No. 6, India need to field all-rounders. With all the three above batsmen right in the thick of things for the T20 World Cup, Pandey might be cast by the wayside - starting today.