Should India try out Shreyas Iyer or Manish Pandey at No 4? Who should be part of their bowling attack?
Help captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri pick India’s playing XI for Saturday’s first T20 International against the West Indies.
IMAGE: Team India in a huddle. Photograph: BCCI
Following their World Cup exit in the semi-finals, India will be looking for a quick fix, especially in their batting, when they take on the West Indies in a three-match T20 International series.
With an eye on next’s year T20 World Cup, India are looking to identify a new set of players in the limited overs format and the upcoming three-match T20I and three-match ODI series provides them the perfect platform to do so.
Middle-order batsmen Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey, who were yearning for a long run in the Indian team despite consistent performances in domestic cricket, IPL and for India ‘A’, will finally get a much-deserved chance to showcase their potential on the world stage.
The likes of pace bowlers Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini and Deepak Chahar, who have impressed in the IPL and for India ‘A’, also have a good opportunity to force their claim for a place in India’s T20 and ODI teams in the absence of regular fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who has been rested for the limited overs series. All-rounder Hardik Pandya, who had groin injury during the World Cup, has also been given a break, while all-rounder Vijay Shankar too is missing from the limited-overs squad due to injury.
“T20s as you have seen the squads when I met the selectors, the basic message from them was to try out a few players that they had in mind. I think it is a very exciting opportunity for all the guys stepping in for the first time. I am particularly excited about the first three T20s, because as I said a new lot of players coming in, some players have done well really in the format and shown great composure in tournaments like IPL and domestically as well,” Captain Virat Kohli said before leaving for the series, to be played in US and West Indies.
“There is a T20 World Cup next year, there is always something to look forward. I know we were all disappointed with not going through to the final and probably winning the World Cup. But you have to move on and you to have accept defeat as well and move forward and look forward to new things. As I said new players coming in, it is an opportunity for them to establish their skill sets, for me as a captain to have new players in the side and get them together. I think international cricket always presents you with opportunities and challenges which I always look forward to,” he added.
The main area of focus for the Indian team management will be identify a capable batsman for the key No 4 slot in the limited overs team. They tried quite a few players during the ICC World Cup without much success and they could try out a few more options in Iyer and Pandey during the matches against West Indies.
At the same time, it will be interesting to see where India accommodate KL Rahul, who batted both at No 4 and as the opener during the World Cup. With Shikhar Dhawan back in the fold, it remains to be seen if Rahul continues to be in race for the opener’s slot or if he is slotted in the middle order.
Rishabh Pant, who will be the specialist wicket-keeper in the absence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, also played at No 4 in a few games in the World Cup, but he could be slotted lower down the order this time around.
“We obviously want to find people who can be consistent, who can do the job regularly for us and we have backed the players that we thought are good enough to do the job and they have,” Kohli had stated.
Ravindra Jadeja is also back in the mix in the T20s and it will be hard to exclude after his brilliant showing in the World Cup and in Hardik’s absence, he might play as the all-rounder. There is stiff competition for the other spinner’s slot with leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, off-spinner Washington Sundar and Krunal Pandya all in contention.
Should India try out Shreyas Iyer or Manish Pandey at No 4? Who should be the two spinners in the playing XI? Should India include young pacers Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini?
Here is your chance to help Kohli and Shastri pick the playing XI for the first T20 International against the West Indies on Saturday. Click on the boxes below to select your playing XI for the first T20 International, to be played in Lauderhill, Florida, from 2000 hours IST.