After the completion of the Test series, India and England will lock horns in T20Is. The games would start on March 12, and teams will play a total of five encounters. All the matches will happen at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.
On 20th February, BCCI announced the 19-member team that will take on the Englishmen. There were a couple of surprises while a few regulars returned back to the squad. Jasprit Bumrah has been rested while Ravindra Jadeja misses out due to injury. Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Tewatia and Varun CV are the newbies in the squad. Here is the predicted XI for the first game, but before that, let’s first take a look at the complete squad:
Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ishan Kishan (WK), Y Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy, Axar Patel, W Sundar, R Tewatia, T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep, Shardul Thakur.
Openers: KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma
Although Shikhar Dhawan is in the squad, Team India would play KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma at the top. Both are amazing strikers of the ball, and against a strong English team, the Indian XI needs the best performance from their openers. Also, this combination is likely to open for India at the T20 World Cup, and hence, the management could offer as much time as possible to them in the middle.
Middle-Order: Virat Kohli (C), Suryakumar Yadav, and Rishabh Pant (WK)
The middle-order will wear a fresh look for this series. Of course, Virat Kohli would play at No.3. In Australia, India experimented with Sanju Samson and Shreyas Iyer below Virat. However, against England, the positions would belong to Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant. While Pant’s inclusion is natural because of his form, SKY has been doing well in the domestic circuit and deserves his opportunity. It will be a crucial tournament for him to nail down a spot in the team. The squad also includes Ishan Kishan, who can come into the middle-order if necessary.
All-Rounders: Hardik Pandya and Washington Sundar
Team India will hope that Hardik Pandya can restart bowling. This will add tremendous balance to the XI. If he does not bowl too, Hardik is a certainty at No.6. His batting exploits just cannot be given a miss. In Jaddu’s absence, we could have Washington Sundar play at No.7. His batting is slowly improving, and his bowling has already set excellent standards. Axar Patel and Rahul Tewatia will also compete for this slot.
Bowlers: Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, and T Natarajan
Jasprit Bumrah will not be available for this series. Bhuvneshwar Kumar returns to the squad, and he will take over the leadership duties from Bumrah. With Bhuvi in the team, Deepak Chahar could find it hard to find a spot in the XI. Navdeep Saini, despite being in the squad, is doubtful as his form is not great. Hence, Shardul Thakur will play in the XI. T Natarajan and Yuzvendra Chahal will play the first game. If Chahal is not impactful, Varun CV could replace him in the later encounters.