The Indian Cricket Team is geared up for the three-match T20 International series against Sri Lanka. The series, starting from 5th January 2020, is one among the many planned by the BCCI as preparatory measures for the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia.
The schedule for the series is as follows:
1st T20I: 5th January 2020 in Guwahati
2nd T20I: 7th January 2020 in Indore
3rd T20I: 10th January 2020 in Pune
India has decided to rest some of their star players like Rohit Sharma and Md Shami. However, India's pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah is making a comeback after a long injury layoff. Here's the full 15-member squad:
T20I Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Overall, the team looks quite good on paper, with a perfect mix of youth and experience. With the return of Jasprit Bumrah, one of the best T20 bowlers in the world, the bowling unit is expected to perform better than what they did against West Indies in the recently concluded T20 series.
Although the Sri Lankan team looks quite ordinary on paper, India should not take them lightly as they have some genuine match-winners like Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews in their ranks. Virat Kohli will want his team to continue their winning momentum and notch up another T20 series victory.
In this article, we look at what India's best possible playing XI could be in this T20 series.
Openers: KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan
In the absence of Rohit Sharma, the onus of giving India a solid start will be on the opening pair of KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan. Rahul will be keen to continue his good form with the bat while Dhawan will try and make a successful comeback into the T20 side after his injury layoff. Both the men have plenty of experience under their belt and India can definitely expect them to do well at the top of the order.
Middle-order: Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube
Virat Kohli will definitely be coming at number three, his favorite batting position. In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Kohli's performance with the bat will become even more important in determining the fate of the series. With the T20 World Cup not far away, captain Kohli will be eager to continue his good form with the bat. He will look to play his usual role of an anchor for the team in this series.
Shreyas Iyer will most probably play at the number four position. He has the ability to play the big shots and can also rotate the strike with ease. Iyer will be keen to score big runs and cement his position in the Indian middle-order before the T20 World Cup begins.
At number five, Shivam Dube is likely to get the nod ahead of Manish Pandey because of his explosive batting ability. As Dube can also contribute with the ball, his inclusion will provide more balance to the playing XI and give Kohli an extra bowling option as well.
Wicket-keeper: Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant will be India's obvious choice for the wicket-keeper's slot in the playing XI. He will most probably walk out to bat at number six.
Pant's devastating batting style makes him a match-winner in the shortest format of the game. After a brief period of poor form, he got back among runs against West Indies. He will surely be looking to add to that.
Spinners: Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, and Yuzvendra Chahal
With three world-class spinners in Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, and Yuzvendra Chahal in the team, the management might just get tempted to play them all.
Considering Jadeja's ability to contribute with both bat and ball, coupled with brilliant fielding skills, he can be easily accommodated in the playing XI as an all-rounder. And then, the deadly combination of Chahal and Yadav can fill in as the two spinners.
Fast Bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah and Navdeep Saini
Jasprit Bumrah will return as the leader of the Indian pace attack after his injury layoff. His return will definitely strengthen the bowling unit, which looked a little weak against West Indies in the recently concluded T20 series.
For the second fast bowler's spot, Navdeep Saini might just get the nod ahead of Shardul Thakur because of his raw pace and potential match-winning capabilities.