India will most likely hand a lot of debut caps in the second T20I.
After much deliberation and speculation, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and the BCCI have decided to go ahead with the second T20I to be played on Wednesday (July 28). The series was in jeopardy after India all-rounder Krunal Pandya tested positive for COVID-19. His rapid antigen and RT-PCR tests both results returned positive and the cricketer had also complained of sore throat on Tuesday morning.
Moreover, the medical teams identified eight players as close contacts of Krunal even as the whole visiting contingent isolated themselves. However, in a fresh set of tests, all the close contacts returned negative results for the virus late on Tuesday. But they are ruled out of the remaining two T20I matches to be played on July 28 and 29.
According to the Indian Express, apart from Krunal Pandya, the players who are not available for the rest of the series are – Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Prithvi Shaw, Deepak Chahar, Krishnappa Gowtham, Ishan Kishan and Yuzvendra Chahal. This has severely limited India’s batting resources for the series and there is every possibility of the reserve players being included in the squad.
Likely debuts for Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devdutt Padikkal
With a lot of players not available to play for the last two T20Is, India is likely to hand more debut T20I caps. The likes of Devdutt Padikkal and Ruturaj Gaikwad are now likely to make their T20I debuts and there is also another possibility of reserve players making it to the squad.
Despite so much uncertainty, according to the reports, the BCCI and SLC held a meeting on Wednesday afternoon to decide about the future of the series. After much deliberation, it was finally decided that the series will go ahead. As far as the series is concerned, Sri Lanka are in a must-win situation and will have to win this match to stay alive in the series.
Even the home team are grappled with injuries and the three players, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka are unlikely to play in the second T20I. Moreover, Rajapaksa has been ruled out of the series.