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India vs Sri Lanka T20Is: Opportunity for bench strength to shine in the absence of Kohli, Pant

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

Suryakumar Yadav and Deepak Chahar ruled out of India-Sri Lanka T20Is due to injury.

India vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20 Preview: Opportunity for bench strength to shine in the absence of Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (Image ©BCCI)
Opportunity for bench strength to shine in the absence of Kohli, Pant (Image ©BCCI)

Classic rivals in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka and India will go loggerheads against each other in a three-match T20I series from February 24.

The first T20I match is scheduled to be played at Bharat Ratna Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow and the rest two T20I matches are scheduled to be played on February 26 and 27, respectively, at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharmshala.

A look at India’s squad for the T20I series against SL

India have selected quite a new squad for this upcoming T20I series. They have rested their premier batter Virat Kohli, wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant and bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur for this limited overs series.

Opener KL Rahul has been ruled out from the series due to a hamstring injury and spinner Axar Patel hasn’t recover fully from his shin injury. Spin bowling all-rounder Washington Sunder will also miss the series due to a hamstring injury. Suryakumar Yadav suffered a hairline fracture and Deepak Chahar sustained a right quadriceps injury during bowling in the third and final T20I against the West Indies in Kolkata on Sunday. They both are also ruled out of the upcoming T20I series against Sri Lanka. Deepak Hooda and Ruturaj Gaikwad have been included in the T20I squad. Also, veteran left arm all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is returning to the T20I squad after an injury break.

T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Jasprit Bumrah (vc), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Sanju Samson (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Avesh Khan

As we can gauge from the above squad, leading pacer Jasprit Bumrah makes a return to the T20I squad and has been named as deputy of Rohit Sharma.

Several new players will get an opportunity to showcase their talent in this T20I series against Sri Lanka. As the leading opener KL Rahul has been rested, youngsters like Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad can open for India.

Ishan Kishan has already played some blistering innings for India; now he will look forward to cementing his place in the Indian team as the back-up opener before the upcoming T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in Australia in October-November, 2022.

Ruturaj Gaikwad earned his place in the squad on the back of his phenomenal performance in IPL 2021. He was an Orange Cap winner in IPL 2021 with a staggering run-tally of 635 runs in 16 games. He has played only three T20I games for India till now without much success. Thus, he will try to display his true mettle in this series against Sri Lanka.

As Virat Kohli has vacated the place at one down for this series, players like Sanju Samson and Shreyas Iyer will try to fill in for Kohli.

Sanju Samson is a talented cricketer who hasn’t been able to do justice to his cricketing abilities till now and has been unable to churn out good performances for India. However, age is on his side and he can still make an impact as a wicketkeeper batter for India. He will try to make the most of the opportunities he will get in this series.

Eminent batter from Mumbai, Shreyas Iyer didn’t get many chances in the previous series against the West Indies due to Suryakumar Yadav in the middle order. Also, if Samson plays at one down, Iyer will likely play at number four for India in this series. One could expect him to play the role of a middle order anchor and spin slogger in this series as Sri Lanka have plenty of tweakers in their bowling attack.

Ind vs WI, 3rd T20I_ Suryakumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer put on 91-run partnership for 5th wicket against West Indies. (Image ©BCCI)
Venkatesh Iyer played some crucial innings in T20I series against WI (Image ©BCCI)

Venkatesh Iyer is the new sensation in Indian cricket due to his natural hitting skills and medium pace bowling. He was the backbone of the success of Kolkata Knight Riders in the last season of IPL. He amassed 370 runs in 10 games in IPL 2021. He has played a few swash-buckling knocks in the recently concluded T20I series against West Indies. The Madhya Pradesh player may be that vital cog in the team combination of India as he can replace pace bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the middle order to give balance to the team lineup.

Ravindra Jadeja was not part of the recently concluded limited overs series against West Indies due to injury. He will boost the lower order batting of India along with boosting the spin bowling arsenal of India in this series against Sri Lanka.

Deepak Hooda made his debut for India in ODI cricket against West Indies due to his remarkable performances in domestic cricket. He is a promising option for the spin bowling all-rounder role. He will try his best to impress fans and selectors with his performance in this T20I series.

Leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi made headlines in the last season of IPL with his magical spin bowling. He snared 12 wickets in nine games in IPL 2021. Due to this performance, he was selected in India’s squad for the West Indies series in which he bowled economical spells with three wickets. As India selectors are looking for a second leg spin option apart from Yuzvendra Chahal in limited overs games, all eyes will be on Bishnoi in this series.

Left arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav fell off the radar in recent times in limited overs cricket, however, selectors still handed him another opportunity to regain his mojo. This might be the ultimate chance for him to boost his chances for selection in India’s squad for T20 World Cup 2022.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is not looking at his best in the last few limited overs series barring an outstanding 19th over in the second T20I against West Indies where he conceded only four runs and took a wicket as well. Bhuvi went wicketless in the ODI series in South Africa. He could take only two wickets in the recently concluded T20I series against West Indies. This might be the last chance for him to revive his limited-overs career.

Ind vs WI, 3rd T20I_ Suryakumar Yadav's whirlwind 65, Harshal Patel's 3-22 help India whitewash West Indies in T20Is as well. (Image ©BCCI)
Harshal Patel's 3-22 played a crucial role in 3rd T20I against WI (Image ©BCCI)

Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj and Avesh Khan are the young speedguns of India. Harshal Patel continues to impress selectors with five wickets in the recently concluded T20I series against WI. He was the Purple Cap winner of IPL 2021 with a record haul of 32 wickets in just 15 games. The right arm pacer will be a key constituent of India’s bowling attack in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Mohammed Siraj has been one of the most promising pacers for India in recent times. He has already booked his spot in India’s Test team; also, he is bowling well in limited overs for India. He scalped five wickets in the recent three-match ODI series against West Indies. The team management may look forward to take Siraj to Australia for the upcoming T20 World Cup if he continues his astounding form.

Avesh Khan recently made his debut for India in T20Is against West Indies at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, however, he couldn't bag any wicket in his debut game. He had a spectacular IPL season in 2021 with 24 wickets in just 16 games. He was the second-highest wicket taker in IPL 2021. He can generate sheer pace and bounce which can help India in Australia in the upcoming T20 World Cup. So, if Avesh proves his mettle in this series against Sri Lanka, selectors might think of his name for T20 World Cup selection.

Injure Suryakumar Yadav can make inroads for Deepak Hooda. Rohit Sharma may bat down at No. 4 to allow Ruturaj Gaikwad to open and give more game time, as he had done in the third T20I against West Indies.

India (possible) XI: 1) Ishan Kishan, 2) Ruturaj Gaikwad, 3) Sanju Samson (wk), 4) Rohit Sharma, 5) Shreyas Iyer, 6) Venkatesh Iyer, 7) Ravindra Jadeja, 8) Harshal Patel, 9) Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10) Yuzvendra Chahal, 11) Jasprit Bumrah

Ahead of T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia, India will play bilateral T20I series against South Africa and England apart from the upcoming series against their southern neighbours. India will also participate in Asia Cup T20 ahead of the premier tournament.


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