It is a matter of great pride for selectors when the side they pick is at the top of its game, and the national selection committee is hardly expected to make any changes when it meets on Friday to pick the Tweny20 squads for the Asia Cup in Bangladesh and the World Twenty20 to be hosted in March-April.
Sandeep Patil’s panel will also be relieved it will not have to sit down so soon to pick a one-day international combination, after India failed to convert its strong batting performances into a series victory in Australia. The 1-4 defeat particularly exposed the inconsistency among pacers on pitches tailor-made for batsmen.
The 3-0 sweep in the T20 series in Australia would have convinced the selectors that it need not worry about the batting unit. Virat Kohli, rested for the three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka, will return while they may consider adding seamer Mohit Sharma, who missed the Australia tour due to injury.
The selectors named the T20 squad for the three-match series against Sri Lanka only on Monday, and hardly any major change is expected from that side.
Skipper MS Dhoni emphasised his preference for players with more than one skill, and thus Yuvraj Singh’s spin bowling --- he dismissed the dangerous Glenn Maxwell twice – and last-over flourish with the bat which won India the final game in Sydney would have convinced the selectors the 34-year-old will add more value to the side in familiar conditions.
With T20 sides benefit from the presence of experienced players. Thus young all-rounders Gurkeerat Singh Mann and, Rishi Dhawan, who went to Australia as injury covers are expected to be left out.
The one player who proved himself straightaway in Australia, 22-year-old Gujarat seamer Jasprit Bumrah, is expected to be blooded. Bumrah claimed eight wickets across one ODI and three T20s, impressing with his accuracy and yorkers and using lessons learnt in IPL cricket.
The players with a question mark over fitness include seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who flew home from Australia due to injury. However, he has been chosen for the T20s against Sri Lanka, to be played in Pune (Feb 9), Ranchi (Feb 12) and Visakhapatnam (Feb 14).
The Asia Cup will be played in Mirpur from February 24 to March 6 while the main matches in the World Twenty20 start on February 15 with the final scheduled on April 3.
Likely squad: MS Dhoni (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Manish Pandey, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, Mohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya.