With most of their regulars in England for the World Test Championship final and a five-match Test series against the hosts, the Indian cricket team announced a second-string squad that will tour Sri Lanka in July.
Veterans Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were announced as the captain and vice-captain, respectively, with as many as five players earning their maiden call-up to the national side.
The first of three T20Is starts on July 21, before which a three-match ODI series will take place. The T20I series will be of massive importance, given the T20 World Cup coming up later in the year.
India's squad: Shikhar Dhawan (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (Wicket-keeper), Sanju Samson (Wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Vice-captain), Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya
Here is India's strongest T20I XI for the Sri Lanka series. Note: Selection will be influenced by the ODI series.
Openers: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prithvi Shaw
After losing his place in the T20I side to Ishan Kishan during the England series, Shikhar Dhawan now finds himself named captain in the shortest format. Indian captain Virat Kohli has been open about his intention to open the batting alongside Rohit Sharma, so Dhawan might have to produce something extraordinary to convince the skipper otherwise.
Prithvi Shaw, who was among the best batsmen on display in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL), will partner him at the top. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devdutt Padikkal stand a chance of making the T20I playing XI because of their success in the IPL, but Shaw - who has never played a T20I before - should still be first-choice.
Middle Order: Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson (wk), Manish Pandey
A veteran of all of two innings in the T20I format, Suryakumar Yadav has already been earmarked as the prime candidate for the No. 4 slot. The Mumbai Indians batsman showed great application to notch up his maiden fifty for India and should go from strength to strength despite a middling IPL season.
While Ishan Kishan could be the choice to keep wickets in the ODIs, Sanju Samson could be handed the gloves in the 20-over format. The Rajasthan Royals captain showed flashes of consistency in IPL 2021, which is something we haven't seen from him very often. A dasher in the best sense of the word, Samson could further his case for a T20 World Cup spot in the middle order.
Manish Pandey, who is making a comeback to the Indian side, should round off the middle order, with Nitish Rana serving as a backup.