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Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni absence gives India chance to test bench in Nidahas Trophy

India are favourites for the upcoming 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series. Rohit Sharma will lead the side and players like Rishabh Pant, Deepak Hooda, Mohammad Siraj, Vijay Shankar and Washington Sundar have been picked.

cricket Updated: Mar 03, 2018 19:55 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, Colombo
Virat Kohli,MS Dhoni,Indian cricket team
Rishabh Pant is one of the young players who has been picked for India for the upcoming 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series. (PTI)

The Indian cricket team, under Virat Kohli, are currently demonstrating clinical efficiency, balanced batting and bowling and a ruthless mentality in limited-overs cricket. These factors were evident in the recently concluded tour of South Africa where India won the ODIs and T20s 5-1 and 2-1 respectively.

READ | India open vs Sri Lanka in tri-nation T20 series for Nidahas Trophy 2018 - full schedule

With such a winning momentum, India are favourites for the upcoming 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series that starts on March 6 in Colombo, also featuring hosts Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

However, the gruelling 50-day tour of South Africa has resulted in India making some changes. Kohli, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have all been rested. Rohit Sharma will lead the side and players like Rishabh Pant, Deepak Hooda, Mohammad Siraj, Vijay Shankar and Washington Sundar have been picked.

READ | Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep in Sri Lanka squad for tri-series vs India, Bangladesh

Testing depth

The 2018 Nidahas T20 tri-series presents India with two challenges. The team will be without Dhoni and Kohli for an entire series after a long time. This gives the likes of Shankar, Sundar, Hooda, Pant and Siraj an extended run to showcase their talent on the bigger stage. Barring Hooda and Shankar, the rest got a chance in at least one series during the heights of the ‘experimentation’ and ‘rotation’ stage under Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri.

This tournament will be closely watched by the Indian selectors and Indian Premier League franchises. A great show in Sri Lanka will only enhance the talent pool of Indian cricket and only increase Kohli and the selectors’ problem of plenty, which is a good thing.

READ | Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan ruled out of T20 tri-series vs Sri Lanka and India

Domestic form rewarded

The inclusion of Hooda, Shankar, Sundar, Pant and Siraj are rewards for their consistency in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The common traits for Hooda and Pant are their aggressive strike-rates and their good average.

Pant, who had struggled in one Twenty20 against the West Indies in 2017 and in the Ranji Trophy, roared back to form in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, hammering 411 runs at a strike-rate of 195.6, including a 38-ball 116 against Himachal Pradesh.

READ | Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni rested, Rohit Sharma to lead India in Sri Lanka T20 tri-series

On recent form, Hooda, who had expressed that he hopes to get a chance in the Indian team for this series, seems a sure fit having excelled in both Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali.

Sundar, who made his ODI and T20I debut against Sri Lanka in December 2017, could be a vital support to Yuzvendra Chahal in conditions that will assist him while Siraj, the leading wicket-taker in the 2017/18 Vijay Hazare Trophy with 23 wickets, will be aiming to seize the chance after a poor start against New Zealand.

The 2018 Nidahas Trophy presents Indian cricket a great opportunity to test the depth of their bench strength and help youngsters go to the next level.

YOUNG GUNS SHINE IN DOMESTIC CIRCUIT

Deepak Hooda

Vijay Hazare Trophy: M - 7, R - 352, A -50.28, S/R - 113.18

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: M - 8, R - 226, A - 32.28, S/R - 150.66

Rishabh Pant

Vijay Hazare Trophy: M - 7, R - 266, A - 44.33, S/R - 128.5

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: M - 10, R - 411, A - 45.66, S/R - 195.6

Vijay Shankar

Vijay Hazare Trophy: M - 4, R - 200, A - 50, S/R - 101.6

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: M - 7, R - 152, A - 25.33, S/R - 121.6

Mohammed Siraj

Vijay Hazare Trophy: M - 7, W - 23, A - 15.65, ER - 5.68

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: M - 5, W - 10, A - 17.1, ER - 8.55

Washington Sundar

Vijay Hazare Trophy: M – 5, W – 3, A – 54, ER – 3.91

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: M - 9, W - 12, A - 19.5, ER - 6.88

First Published: Mar 03, 2018 17:30 IST