The first T20I between India and Sri Lanka is slated to take place in Lucknow on Thursday and it will be yet another chance for the Indian team management to try out different players for the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
Rohit Sharma\’s start to India\’s full-time white-ball captaincy has been perfect so far as India completed 3-0 clean sweep in T20Is over West Indies at home and another 3-0 sweep of the Windies in ODIs. The upcoming 3-match T20I series against Sri Lanka is another chance for the team to continue its dominant run in home conditions. The victory over West Indies catapulted India to the top of the ICC rankings in T20Is, but Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid know that these bilateral series wins will eventually count for nothing if India falter in the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.
Rohit\’s ascendancy to captaincy in all formats transpired over a period of a couple of months after Virat Kohli\’s failure to take India to the title in the T20 World Cup last year. India enjoyed one of its best win percentages under Kohli in all formats but the pressure of not landing an ICC trophy eventually ended his reign.
Rohit knows he has his job cut out and this series too will give him and the management a chance to further look at players who can make it to the World Cup squad.
Here is our India predicted XI for the first T20I against Sri Lanka
Ishan Kishan: The left-handed opener struggled to get going in the series against West Indies and this series will be crucial for him to cement his chances of making it to the showpiece event.
Ruturaj Gaikwad: The talented opener failed to get runs in the last T20I against West Indies, the only match he played, and the Indian team should stick with him at the top of the order, to ensure there is healthy rivalry between him and Kishan for the opener\’s slot.
Rohit Sharma: With no Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant in the team for the series, and Suryakumar Yadav out with an injury, Rohit will have to play the sheet anchor\’s role.
Shreyas Iyer: The absence of Virat and Pant opens the door for this talented batter to get a look in but Shreyas knows his inability to contribute with the ball will be a big hinderance in him getting a regular place in the playing XI.
Sanju Samson: The wicket-keeper batter has gone down in the pecking order but he is a talent which needs a few more opportunities.
Venkatesh Iyer: One of the star performers of the West Indies series, Venkatesh will be expected to take more responsibility in finishing the innings in the absence of Suryakumar. His bowling remains an asset.
Ravindra Jadeja: India\’s finest all-rounder is back from injury and Jaddu will be expected to deliver in all three departments.
Harshal Patel: The medium pacer will be expected to play a crucial role in the death overs again and he needs to bring all his variety out in order to fox the batters.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: The West Indies series showed Bhuvi still has some gas left in the tank. This is yet another opportunity for him to keep his place in the team intact.
Jasprit Bumrah: India\’s premier paceman returns and will be expected to deliver the goods straight up. India need Bumrah to pick up wickets and not just contain batters.
Yuzvendra Chahal: Chahal should get the nod over the young Bishnoi, but the spin wizard knows the youngster is breathing down his neck.