Brett’s watch list: Possible Man of the Match contenders for 1st India-England T20I
England walk into the T20I series against India with their T20I specialists back. Led by their captain marvel in limited-overs, Eoin Morgan, the visitors will see a host of changes in the side that lost 3-1 in the recently concluded Test series.
India will welcome some limited-overs specialists as well, with Suryakumar Yadav and Rahul Tewatia in line for their international debuts. All these changes make up for an interesting series, which comprises five T20Is, and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing so many high profile match-ups on the field.
Picking just four names from a plethora of options is indeed a tricky task, but here are my picks for India vs England 1st T20I.
Yuzvendra Chahal’s credentials in the shortest format have been on a constant rise. He may have struggled for wickets in his last few T20Is, picking five wickets in as many games, but the home conditions are certainly in his favour. Ahmedabad’s Motera Stadium is expected to assist batsmen more than the spinners in white-ball cricket, but Chahal’s ability to pick wickets in the toughest of conditions makes him an important asset to the Indian cricket team.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya was phenomenal against Australia and was rightly adjudged the Man of the Series. His record at home, however, remains a worry. A pinch hitter who is rightly capable of turning the course of a game, Pandya has never scored more than 30 runs in a T20I innings at home. In fact, he carries an underwhelming T20I batting average of 10.38 in India, which makes this series extremely important for him with the Indian T20 League and the T20I World Cup coming up later this year. However, given his recent form, I’m expecting a few match-winning knocks from Hardik, especially if he gets to bat higher up the order.
Captain Eoin Morgan is due a big inning in T20I given that his last half-century in this format dates back to August 2020; a 33-ball 66 against Pakistan. With England fielding a full-fledged squad in the shortest format, Morgan will indeed have less pressure with the bat and it may help him better his record. He has played 11 T20Is in India, where he has tallied 228 runs at an average of 25.33 with just one half-century to show for. I’m expecting the England captain to improve his numbers this time.
I certainly agree with the fact that Sam Curran has been a better player since his tenure with Chennai in the 2020 Indian T20 League season. Though it could be because of playing under MS Dhoni, one cannot take away the kind of performances he has put in since then. Not only his contribution with the ball, but his big hits down the order are expected to help England immensely. Playing against India on their turf may well and truly be a demanding job, but Curran is someone who will deliver the goods. Watch out for him.
Feature image courtesy: SportsAdda