India announced their team on Sunday for the upcoming Nidahas Trophy Twenty20 International (T20I) tri-series that is set to feature Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The tournament will be played in Sri Lanka and is stated to start from March 6.
A 15-member squad has been announced by the BCCI that sees skipper Virat Kohli being rested alongside MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah. Keeping the upcoming busy schedule in mind, the board therefore decided to rest these players with the amount of workload they have had in the last two years.
After losing the Test series 2-1, India ended their tour of South Africa on a high after sealing the T20I series 2-1 on Saturday after also winning the ODIs 5-1. Rohit Sharma will lead the team in the Nidahas Trophy as the BCCI have selected a squad comprising of experience and youth. Shikhar Dhawan has been chosen as Rohit’s deputy.
TEAM: Rohit Sharma (Capt), Shikhar Dhawan (vc), KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammad Siraj, Rishabh Pant (wk). pic.twitter.com/9l9sTnXOb3
— BCCI (@BCCI) February 25, 2018
Five players made entries to the side that include the likes of Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Siraj and Rishabh Pant. The rest of the squad featured in the three-match T20I series against the Proteas.
Here is an analysis of the squad for the Nidahas Trophy T20I series addressing the key aspects.
Suresh Raina’s form has been a prime factor after the veteran southpaw earlier made his return to team India for the series against South Africa. In three matches, Raina was given the license to go all guns blazing and he now has somewhat assured the team to make the No. 3 slot for him permanent. Raina looked confident and struck the ball well and the tri-series presents him with another opportunity to further enhance his experience.
Raina against SA
In Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan the team has the best possible opening combination with years of experience and understanding under their belt. It will be another test for Rohit to showcase his skills as a skipper after seeing success earlier against Sri Lanka in ODIs and T20Is, before helping India to win the decider against the Proteas.
Dhawan on the other hand enjoyed a good limited overs show against the Proteas in both ODIs and T20Is. The in-form southpaw will be raring to go once again and give India the desired start required upfront. India’s middle-order looks strong too, with Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik in the mix. Pandey has shown the character required to be a regular face in the side.
The spin department looks strong on paper with Yuzvendra Chahal leading the attack alongside Washington Sundar and Axar Patel as his deputies. In the absence of Bumrah and Bhuvi, the likes of Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat will don the pace attack. They looked good in South Africa and the experience gathered there will be valuable.
KL Rahul hasn’t been given a go recently despite showing his form against the Lankans earlier, he could once again be on the bench. A lot will have to be seen in his confidence after not having the desired run he would have liked atop.
KL Rahul’s T20I career
All-rounder Vijay Shankar, who replaces Pandya will need to chip in for the side. The Tamil Nadu player has been in form in domestic cricket with the bat, but bowling wise hasn’t quite got the desired wickets to his name.
Mohammad Siraj has represented India earlier in two T20Is, but the pacer was plundered for runs. With an economy rate of 12.25, Siraj will have to get his act better this time around if India decide to go in with three pacers. It is another rare chance for the bowler to stake his claim and he will have to make his recent domestic form count on the bigger stage.
Opportunities await for key players
There are some big chances for some of the members to show if they can handle the international scenario away from home well. That’s where the likes of Shankar, Sundar and Siraj comes into play. Rishabh Pant too has got his chance and he will look to get a game or two to showcase his explosive attributes in the format.
Deepak Hooda is another bright prospect and stakes a claim in that middle order. His off-spin abilities is a plus and could come in the lower middle order to add more depth in the side.
All eyes will also be on Unadkat and Thakur, who can continue their recent form and handle the responsibility in the absence of regular choices.