Who among Ishan and Sanju will play? Will Varun Chakravarthy make his international debut?
After a closely fought and an eventful three-match ODI series, India and Sri Lanka will renew their rivalry in the shortest format of the game. This is a crucial series for both the teams with the T20 World Cup set to be played later this year in the UAE and Oman. Sri Lanka rather will have to go through the qualification round as well to make it to the Super 12.
As for India, there are certainly a few spots up for grabs in the World Cup squad. All the eyes will be on the likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan who impressed on debut against England earlier this year. Also, it remains to be seen if the visitors will try out the remaining players in the squad in this series. With all the excitement around the line-up, here we predict India’s playing XI for the first T20I.
Here’s Predicted Playing XI of India in the first T20I against Sri Lanka:
Openers (Shikhar Dhawan (C), Prithvi Shaw)
Though he is the skipper of the team, the pressure will be on Shikhar Dhawan to prove his mettle in the T20Is. He is often guilty of starting very slow and then failing to catch up in the shortest format. His place in the preferred T20I XI is definitely not secured with Virat Kohli keeping an option of him opening with Rohit Sharma as well. After having a good IPL 2021, Dhawan will be keen on carrying forward the same form in this series.
Prithvi Shaw will have nothing to lose in terms of World Cup selection is concerned. He can bat freely and has already showed the range of his shots in the ODI series scoring runs at a strike-rate of more than 100 all the time. His job will be to give India a good start along with Dhawan.
Middle-Order (Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson (WK), Manish Pandey)
These middle-order slots are crucial for India in the series with all eyes on Suryakumar Yadav who won the Man of the Series award in the preceding ODI series. He has more or less sealed his place in the World Cup squad but this series might determine if he will make it to the XI. Surya is currently batting on another level and it is a matter of only being consistent for him.
Sanju Samson could be preferred as a wicketkeeper in the line-up to start with ahead of Ishan Kishan. Rather both can get a chance to play as well ahead of Manish Pandey too who was off colour in the ODIs and is not in the discussions to make it to the WC squad. Samson and Ishan both would love to go hard with the bat if they get an opportunity.
All-Rounders (Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Chahar)
Hardik Pandya didn’t impress many with his performance in the ODI series. He was off colour with the bat and even though he bowled, he wasn’t penetrative and India needs him to be effective as the fifth bowler, at least in the shortest format of the game. His brother Krunal Pandya did a fair job and a good show in this series will definitely put him in the pecking order.
Deepak Chahar too has done no harm to his reputation and can be seriously considered as an all-rounder after the way he batted in the second ODI. His job will be to pick early wickets with the new ball and later can come up the order and tonk the ball as well in the death overs.
Bowlers (Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the senior bowler in this line-up and the onus will be on him to bowl the tight four overs upfront and at the death. India don’t have a specific death bowler making it to the playing XI at least for this game we might even see Bhuvi bowler three overs at the back end of the innings.
The spin attack will Yuzvendra Chahal coming back definitely after resting in the third ODI. With Rahul Chahar also waiting in the wings, Chahal will be under pressure to perform after a rather poor IPL stint. Meanwhile, Varun Chakravarthy looks set to make his debut finally. This is the best chance for the mystery spinner to make it to the WC squad and it will all depend on his performance in this series.