Hardik Pandya will be supposed to start his full-time T20 captaincy residency on a strong note as the Indian T20 group gets ready to begin its life past Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and KL Rahul with the three-match series against Sri Lanka, starting here on Tuesday.
When Hardik led the Indian cricket team to victory in the rain-hit T20 series in New Zealand, cricket fans got more than a glimpse of his vision for the team.
The shortest format is not a priority for the Indian team during an ODI World Cup year, but the series will enable Hardik to begin planning for the future, specifically the 2024 T20 World Cup.
India’s renowned top three players—Rohit, Kohli, and Rahul—are not in the squad, so the team needs to get ready for life without them.
In recent times, the Indian T20 team’s issue has been a distinct lack of determination and bravery in the field.
The team suffered for a long time from the idea of self-preservation at the expense of effective performance, and perhaps the team’s poor performance at the T20 World Cup was the final straw.
Rishabh Pant, who was in a terrible car accident last week, and Ishan Kishan opened for the team in New Zealand. Since Pant was not selected to play in the Sri Lanka series, Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad will likely start the first Twenty20 at the high-scoring Wankhede Stadium.
For the past few years, both Kishan and Gaikwad have been genuine IPL stars, and now is their real chance to show off their skills without worrying about where they fit in the team.
The two are expected to get a fair chance because the next T20 World Cup is at least 18 months away. However, there are only 15 T20 Internationals this year, with ODIs taking precedence.
Another opening option for Hardik is Shubman Gill, who has not yet played in a Twenty20 tournament. The skipper will rely on the brilliance of the No. 3 player in the world at number 3. Suryakumar Yadav is a batter. Deepak Hooda might start Tuesday’s game, as Hardik wants six bowling options in the playing eleven.
For the middle-order spot, the management will have to choose between Sanju Samson and Rahul Tripathi, who hasn’t played much. Tripathi has been warming the seat for some time now and it could go on against Sri Lanka however Samson because of involvement ought to get the first go.
Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, and Umran Malik are likely to form the pace bowling trio for the team, despite the inclusion of uncapped Shivam Mavi and Mukesh Kumar.
With the options of Washington Sundar and Axar Patel, India could also add more all-rounders to the team. Expert spinner Yuzvendra Chahal is supposed to play in the series opener.
Even under their own circumstances, Sri Lanka, the current champions of the Asia Cup, will not yield to India. By including Avishka Fernando, Chamika Karunaratne, and Sadeera Samarawickrama in the team for the India series, Sri Lanka has rewarded the Lanka Premier League’s star performers.
Both Karunaratne and Fernando are making a comeback and will be looking to make an impact.
In the middle order, their primary batter will be Bhanuka Rajapaksa.
India: Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, and Mukesh Kumar.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (C), Pathum Nissanka, Avishka Fernando, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kusal Mendis (VC for ODIs), Bhanuka Rajapaksa (only for T20Is), Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga (VC for T20Is), Ashen Bandara, Mahesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay (only for ODI)