India Predicted XI for 1st T20I against Sri Lanka - Tough calls stare at Virat Kohli in Guwahati
India will take on Sri Lanka in their first match of the New Year at the Barsapara Stadium in Guwahati on Sunday. This three T20I series – the Virat Kohli led side will travel to Indore and Pune after the first T20I - will also mark the beginning of both India and Sri Lanka’s preparations for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
India are coming into this contest on the back of T20I series victories against Bangladesh and West Indies respectively and they will be hopeful of a similar level of performances against Sri Lanka. The ‘Men in Blue’ hold an impressive record against Sri Lanka and they will look to preserve that stat in the upcoming series.
4 players - Rohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar and Mohammed Shami who were part of India’s XI in the last T20I against West Indies, are not in the T20I side against Sri Lanka.
Here is India’s Predicted XI for the first T20I against Sri Lanka
The left-hander returns to the Indian side after an injury lay-off which kept him away from T20I and ODIs against West Indies. Dhawan recently hasn’t been among runs and in 2019 managed to score just 272 runs in 12 innings at an average of 22.66 with a strike rate of 110.56. With Rohit Sharma rested for this three-match T20I series the onus will be on him to give India a solid start.
The West Indies limited overs series was sort of redemption for KL Rahul. In Dhawan’s absence, Rahul not only built solid partnerships with Rohit at the top but also notched up scores of 62, 11, 91 in three T20Is with a strike rate of over 130. Knowing that he will have to fight for the 2nd opener’s slot with Dhawan when Rohit returns, Rahul will look to carry on the good work in the T20Is against Sri Lanka.
Virat Kohli was in outstanding form in the T20Is against West Indies. He had scores of 94* - his best in the shortest format of the game – 19 and 70* in his last 3 T20Is. Kohli will also have an eye on becoming the highest run-scorer in T20Is when India face Sri Lanka in the first T20I.
It appears that the arrival of Shreyas Iyer has once and for all settled the No.4 debate. The Mumbai captain did not have the best of times in the recently concluded series against West Indies but before that he was only second to Rohit and Kohli as far as run-scoring is concerned for India in limited overs cricket. Iyer will aim to start off 2020 on the right note against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Rishabh Pant somehow or the other manages to grab the eyeballs. The talented wicket-keeper batsman had scores of 33*, 18 and 0 in the three T20Is against West Indies but turned it around in the ODIs with scores of 71, 39 and 0. But talking point throughout the series was not his batting. It was his dodgy work behind the stumps that kept the critics buzzing. With Sanju Samson also in the side and the T20 World Cup knocking on the doors, Pant will not like to let go of this opportunity of scoring and keeping well.
In his short international career of 6 T20Is and a solitary ODI, Dube has got the opportunity to bat on 5 occasions. But only two times he had more than 5 overs at his disposal and he made sure to show the world a glimpse of his six-hitting abilities in one of those by tonking the ball over the ropes 4 times in his 30-ball 54-run inning in the 2nd T20I against West Indies. In that innings, Dube was promoted to bat at No.3. It will be interesting to see if Virat Kohli once again takes that chance in the first T20I against Sri Lanka.
In Hardik Pandya’s absence, Jadeja has emerged as the go-to all-rounder for Kohli. His improvements with the bat and ability to keep a tab on run-scoring with the ball make him a certainty in the playing XI. Add his agility and fielding in the mix, he is a sort of cricketer that every captain would want in his side.
In the 2nd T20I against West Indies when all other Indian bowlers struggled to contain the big-hitting Lendl Simmons and Nicholas Pooran, Sundar went for only 26 runs in his 4 overs. His ability to bowl economically in the powerplay is an added advantage. Being a finger spinner he also has edge over Chahal and Kuldeep especially in conditions where dew is likely to play a key role.
The choice between Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will always be a difficult one for India. But considering the impressive numbers of Chahal in the last 12 months, leaving him out is never going to be an option for India particularly in the first match of the series.
A fit-again Jasprit Bumrah is set to return to action in the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka. India’s premier fast bowler had been out of action ever since the West Indies tour in August-September last year because of an injury. He showed a glimpse of lethal bowling in India’s first practice session of 2020 on Friday by knocking the stumps down with a deadly Yorker.
Navdeep Saini is fit and ready. With there being no timeline attached to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar’s return, Saini has an ideal opportunity to stake his claim in the side in the three T20Is against Sri Lanka.
India vs Sri Lanka series full squads
India T20I squad for Sri Lanka series : Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shivam Dube, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini and Washington Sundar.
Sri Lanka T20I squad for India series: Lasith Malinga (captain), Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Isuru Udana, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Kusal Mendis, Lakshan Sandakan and Kasun Rajitha.