India continue preparations for the T20 World Cup in 2020 with a three-match series against West Indies, the first of which will be played on Friday at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium at Hyderabad.
India welcome back Virat Kohli after he was rested for the Bangladesh T20Is and also Bhuvneshwar Kumar, making his return from injury, to the squad. The team bears a more experienced look with these senior players.
Keeping that in mind, let us look at the probable starting XI India will field at the game:
With Shikhar Dhawan the latest Indian player to fall victim to injury, India may finally see what is arguably their best bet to open in T20s- Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, bat together at the top after quite a while. Rahul recently won the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy with Karnataka and Rohit is irreplaceable at the top anyway.
Virat Kohli will occupy his favoured no.3 spot in the XI and will take back captaincy duties from Rohit.
Shreyas Iyer will most likely retain the no.4 position after some great knocks against Bangladesh and considering that he recently hit a blitzkrieg fifty for Mumbai in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, seems in pretty good form
Rishabh Pant seems set to be given the nod of Sanju Samson in the wicket-keeper’s slot, with the latter only coming into the squad as cover for Dhawan, suggesting that he was not in the selectors’ plan.
Shivam Dube did not set the stage on fire in his debut series for India, he impressed enough with the ball in the final T20 to turn the game around and was rewarded with a spot in the squad against West Indies. He may be given another go, this time at no.6 but may not be relied on to complete his quota of overs.
Ravindra Jadeja also makes his comeback to the T20 team after the South Africa series, and should get the no.7 slot after Krunal Pandya was shunted out for the series.
Young Washington Sundar has forced himself into being a regular part of the Indian T20 set-up and has done well in the opportunities given to him. He also shone in a few games with the bat for Tamil Nadu in the Syed Mushtaq Ali, and so will give Kohli the lower-order batting cushion he desperately craves.
Deepak Chahar, who recorded the world’s best T20 bowling figures, picking a hat-trick in the process in the final T20 against Bangladesh, will probably be the first names on the team sheet.
The returning Bhuvneshwar Kumar is likely to accompany him as the second pacer in the XI, edging out Mohammad Shami who may come into the side later in the series.
Yuzvendra Chahal rounds out the XI after decent returns in the Bangladesh series after helping Haryana into the Syed Mushtaq Ali semi-finals.
Probable XI- Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (Capt.), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal
Bench- Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Shami
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Randy Brooks