The Indian team may not have many star players but its youngsters are desperate to do their best to make it to the T20 World Cup squad. In such a situation, the limited overs series against Sri Lanka is likely to be exciting.
The first ODI between India and Sri Lanka will be played on Sunday. Wins are key in any international series but India can try some new combinations in this tour. This series is starting five days late after some cases of Covid-19in the Sri Lankan team. Three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals will be played in the series.
Shanaka will be the 10th captain
Dasun Shanaka will be the 10th captain in the team in the last four years. Barring Dhananjay de Silva and fast bowler Dushmant Chamira, there is no player in sight who can give a tough challenge to the Shikhar Dhawan-led Indian team.
Sri Lanka has been left vulnerable with the suspension of Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella and the injury of former captain Kusal Perera for violating the bio-safe environment during the tour of Britain. If his team registers a win after a poor tour of England, it will be a big achievement for him.
In the Indian team, only Prithvi Shaw, Dhawan, Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are looking for a place in the playing XI. For other places, however, there is more than one contender.
War between Padikkal and Gaikwad
Devdutt Padikkal and Ruturaj Gaikwad are the contenders for number three. It remains to be seen whether the confidence in Suryakumar Yadav’s shot-setting ability is shown given that Manish Pandey is given a chance to show consistency.
Krishnappa Gowtham is in the off-spin department and it remains to be seen if he gets priority over left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya. There is also a contest between Rahul Chahar and Yuzvendra Chahal for the position of the leg-spinner. Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav is also looking for opportunities.
Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson are also contenders for the wicketkeeper. Naturally, in such a situation, the team management will have to find answers to many such questions for the next 11 days.
While the Virat Kohli-led team is determined to improve its Test record in England, the team under Dhawan’s captaincy and Rahul Dravid’s coaching is looking to create options for the senior team.
Most of the Indian players have been playing T20 regularly. The T20 World Cup is to be held at the end of the year and in such a situation every player will try to strengthen his claim.
Six players waiting to play the first match
There are six players in the Indian team who have not played international matches before but Dravid has made it clear that it will be difficult to give everyone a chance in this tour. Among the new players, spinner Varun Chakraborty and left-arm pacer Chetan Sakaria are among the contenders for a place in the squad for the T20 World Cup.
Dhawan himself is not sure of a place in the squad for the World Cup to be held in the UAE as the team has the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul to open the innings. Dhawan can only bat in the top order and the Indian captain is ready to show his mettle. Same is the case with Bhuvneshwar who would like to do his best to start the T20 side with Jasprit Bumrah as the main bowler.
The teams are as follows:
India: Shikhar Dhawan (capt), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Krishnappa Gautam, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav , Varun Chakraborty, Rahul Chahar, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Chetan Sakaria, Navdeep Saini.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Dhananjay D’Silva (Vice-Captain), Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapakse, Pathum Nisanka, Charit Aslanka, Vanindu Hasranga, Asheen Bandara, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Udara, Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmana Sanjadayakan, Lakshmana Sandayakan, Lakshmana Sandayakana, , Shiran Fernando, Dhananjay Lakshmana, Ishaan Jayaratne, Praveen Jayavikrama, Asitha Fernando, Kasun Rajita, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana.