Teams in contrasting forms, India and the West Indies, are scheduled to lock horns in three T20Is, starting Friday, December 6. Mumbai was about to host the opening match, but later Hyderabad was zeroed in as the venue for the encounter.
The Kieron Pollard-led Caribbean team is coming off a 1-2 defeat the hands of Afghanistan even as the Men in Blue beat Bangladesh by 2-1 in November. The hosts have won games in the format of late, but concerns remain, both in the bowling and batting department.
Their bowling in the format has been found wanting as India have floundered quite a few times while defending targets. Going into the series, though Virat Kohli and Co have most things sorted, they need to fine-tune their lineup, keeping in mind the World Cup next year.
In the article, let’s take a look at India’s Predicted Playing XI for the Hyderabad T20I:-
Openers (KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma)
KL Rahul hasn’t played much after the 2019 World Cup. But Shikhar Dhawan’s omission due to the knee injury has meant that the Karnataka batsman shouldn’t have problems in featuring in the lineup. The 27-year-old is also likely to open the batting alongside Rohit Sharma.
Rahul got 313 runs at 52.16 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, striking at 155.72, showing decent enough rhythm. If Rahul capitalizes on the chance, then Dhawan may find it tough to get his opening slot back. Rohit, on the other hand, got a ton against the Caribbean team and knows what to expect from the visitors.
Recently, he got a 43-ball 85 on his 100th T20I at the SCA Stadium in Rajkot. If he gets going, then things may go downhill for Pollard’s men within a blink of an eye. There’s no stopping Rohit when in full flow.
Middle-order (Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK))
Virat Kohli has sparked magic in ODIs and Tests, and now it’s time for him to translate the form in the shortest format as well. Like Rohit, even Virat has a truckload of experience in T20Is and the team will need contributions from their premier batsmen.
The Delhi-born Virat will also need to lead from the front. Shreyas Iyer notched scores of 22, 24* and 62 in the previous series and it will take a tough call to drop him from the team.
The 24-year-old wasn’t in the greatest of form though in the SMAT, scoring 174 at 24.85. It goes without saying that Rishabh Pant has to step up with Sanju Samson breathing down his neck.
All-rounder (Ravindra Jadeja, Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar)
In the last T20I against the Tigers in Nagpur, India used Shivam Dube as a fifth bowling option. The gamble paid off as he got three wickets. But the Mumbai talent may not be used in that role on a long-term basis. Ravindra Jadeja is most likely to get an opportunity in Krunal Pandya’s absence.
Dube also needs to show his skills with the bat in hand. Jadeja has played four T20Is after the World Cup and while he remains a handy option with the ball, his batting has also come leaps and bounds. Washington Sundar has been effective with the ball for India and is also in good form with the bat.
Bowlers (Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal)
It’s almost been four months since Bhuvneshwar Kumar last donned the India jersey. The speedster has missed quite a bit of cricket due to a hamstring injury and side strain. The Meerut-born pacer played a couple of matches for Uttar Pradesh in the SMAT after his three-month layoff.
India need their seamer to stay in shape going into the all-important T20 World Cup next year in Australia. Coming to Deepak Chahar, the Rajasthan pacer unfolded mayhem in the Bangladesh camp in Nagpur. He rocked the Tigers with a hat-trick, helping India snatch win from the jaws of defeat.
In August, he produced a spell of 4/3 versus the West Indies and is going through a purple patch. In the spin department, the onus will be on Yuzvendra Chahal to pick up wickets and stem the run flow.
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