A relatively inexperienced side will take the field against Bangladesh in the first T20
The India-Bangladesh series has received a lot of coverage even before it has begun. From Shakib’s ban to the first day-night Test for both sides, and the environmental concerns of playing an international match in Delhi, the build-up has been nothing short of dramatic.
All of that will take backstage when the first T2o commences at the newly-named Arun Jaitley stadium. Some key names will be missing for India through a mix of rest and injuries, but they still bear a formidable look going into the game.
Openers and Top-Order
This is undoubtedly the most settled part of the Indian team. Although Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are not the prolific opening pair in T20s, it is a no-brainer that the duo will be the first names on the batting line-up.
Rohit is in the form of his life in 2019 and has been given the additional responsibility of captaining the side. Dhawan had his most productive year in T20s in 2018 and will want to get into his attacking groove as he faces a deflated Bangladesh side.
KL Rahul is back in scintillating form, with his Vijay Hazare exploits leading Karnataka to the title. He will most likely bat at no.3, giving him the comfort of the top-order he thrives in.
Shreyas Iyer will likely get the nod ahead of Sanju Samson given the management’s plan to mould him into a long-term middle-order prospect.
Manish Pandey has been at his best at the no.5 position and the fact that he was the Vijay Hazare-winning captain further strengthens his case.
Rishabh Pant will don the wicket-keeping gloves and will fill up the last middle-order spot.
In recent times, India have gone with two all-rounders in the form of Hardik and Krunal Pandya, with both reliable enough to bowl their quota of four overs and provide the big-hitting down the order.
However, the lack of experience might prompt Rohit to go with just one all-rounder and Krunal will get the nod in that case ahead of Shivam Dube.
With no ‘senior’ bowler in the squad as such, India is likely to go with four bowlers to have an extra cushion.
Deepak Chahar has been exceptional with the new ball, and is no slouch with the bat either, making him an automatic choice for the XI.
Khaleel Ahmed and Shardul Thakur, two names that have not done much of note in international cricket, will be given a go as the support pacers, giving them a chance to stake their claim for a ticket to the World Cup squad.
The final bowler will most likely be a spinner- and we may see Yuzvendra Chahal in India colours for the first time since the ODI World Cup ended. His experience gives him an edge over both Washington Sundar and Rahul Chahar, although the latter two might make an appearance as the series progresses.
Probable XI- Rohit Sharma (Capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Krunal Pandya, Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal
Featured image courtesy: AFP/ Indranil Mukherjee