Skipper Rohit Sharma could pick a debutant when India take on the West Indies in the opening T20I of the three-match series in Kolkata on Wednesday.
India registered a 3-0 clean sweep against the West Indies in Rohit Sharma\’s maiden tryst as a full-time white-ball captain but even the biggest of Team India fans would agree that there are multiple holes to be filled in the limited-overs set-up. Despite India\’s dominating performance just a week back in the ODIs, one is likely to give it a second thought before betting on them to repeat the same in the T20I series beginning in Kolkata on Wednesday. Partly it is because of West Indies\’ reputation of performing far better in the T20Is compared to the other formats but largely it is because of India\’s indifferent form in the shortest format of late. Not too long ago, India failed to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup last year. With about eight months to go for another global event, this time in Australia, India have handful of games to figure out their best possible side to pose a threat to the likes of England, Australia and New Zealand.
Here is India\’s Predicted XI for the first T20I against West Indies
Rohit Sharma:The captain, the flag bearer and the cynosure of India\’s hopes not only with the bat but also on the field as captain. With five IPL titles and a tremendous international record so far, Rohit doesn\’t need to prove his captaincy credentials to anyone but what India would be hoping for is a settled line-up in limited-overs cricket in his tenure. Not to forget, his role at the top of the order. One of the major reasons behind India\’s success in white-ball cricket till the 2019 World Cup, was because of the form of their top-order, which of late has failed to match up to the lofty standards.
Ishan Kishan: The tag of being the most expensive player in IPL 2022 auction that concluded barely a couple of days ago would be the last thing on Ishan Kishan\’s mind when he walks out to open the batting with Rohit in the first T20I against West Indies as the left-hander has plenty of other things to take care of. If he has to cement his place, which is unlikely when KL Rahul returns, he needs to display back-to-back noteworthy performances in this series.
Virat Kohli:It\’s a strange time to be Virat Kohli. Not even six or seven months ago, the buck used to stop at Kohli. He was the captain in all formats, a prolific run-scorer and always at the centre of everything on the cricket field. To be fair, he still attracts a lot of attention and will continue to do so whenever he steps onto the field but the invincibility has paled, so have the voices ready to take guarantee of Kohli scoring big each time, every time. Kohli scored only 26 runs in the three ODIs against the Windies and a century has deserted him for more than two years now. Kohli getting back to his dominant self with the bat is pivotal to India\’s success in any format.
Shreyas Iyer: There seems to be a nice intra-squad tussle going on between Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav for the middle-order\’s spot. With no KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja, it might not be a bad idea to play them both in these three matches to get a clear idea on who should be preferred at the No.4 slot going ahead.
Suryakumar Yadav:The Mumbai right-hander appears to be winning the race in cementing his spot in the middle-order. All he needs is a match-winning knock or two in the next three matches against the Windies.
Rishabh Pant: Named as India\’s vice-captain for the T20Is against West Indies, perhaps because of the unavailability of Rahul, Rishabh Pant has a chance to showcase his leadership qualities. In the last couple of white-ball series, he has shown glimpses of coming close to achieving what is expected of him but has to play such innings more often.
Deepak Chahar:The Rs 14 crore that deal that Deepak Chahar got in the IPL auction had a lot to do to with his recent returns with the bat. There was never a doubt about his credentials as a new-ball bowler but what he has done with the bat of late for India, has given rise to his stocks by several notches. With still no clarity on Hardik Pandya\’s return and the likes of Venkatesh Iyer looking farm from being a finished product, Chahar could well be the seam-bowling all-rounder India are so desperately in search of.
Kuldeep Yadav:Drafted in as a replacement after another unfortunate to Washington Sundar, this could be the last few games Kuldeep gets to stake a claim to the wrist spinner\’s spot in India\’s T20I side. His spin-bowling partner Yuzvendra Chahal has blown hot and cold lately, keeping the doors opened for the left-arm wrist spinner\’s comeback.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Perhaps the last series for Bhuvneshwar Kumar to prove that he still belongs in an India XI in white-ball cricket. Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna have already shown what they bring to the table with the new ball and there are the likes of Avesh Khan and Harshal Patel breathing down the neck. It would require something special from Bhuvneshwar Kumar to hold onto his spot in the squad, let alone in the XI.
Ravi Bishnoi:It\’s a hard task to finalise two from Kuldeep, Chahal and Bishnoi. Considering the experience that Chahal and Kuldeep bring to the table, the odds are likely to in favour of \’Kul-Cha\’ but it might not be a bad idea to test Ravi Bishnoi in this series. His long run-up, flatter trajectory and a fast googly could well be what India need in this format.
Mohammed Siraj:He was very impressive in the ODI series and there is no reason why he can\’t do the same in the T20Is but Siraj still needs to work a lot on his death bowling.
India predicted XI for 1st T20I vs West Indies:Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Surykumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav