After defeating West Indies quite convincingly in the Caribbean Islands, India are set to kick off their home season on Sunday when they take on the visiting South African side in the first match of the T20 series.
The teams are looking to prepare for the upcoming 2020 T20I World Cup by finding the right team balance. India will be hoping for some consistent performances from the middle order batsmen like Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Manish Pandey during the upcoming matches. Here is the ideal Indian XI for the first match.
Openers – Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan
Considering Rohit Sharma’s recent form in white ball cricket, it’s a no brainer that he is a sure-fire starter in any ODI or T20 team across the globe. Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul will battle for the second opener slot in the eleven.
Shikhar Dhawan, on the other hand, had a stellar IPL season with Delhi Capitals this year. The team management might opt for Shikhar Dhawan during this series. KL Rahul will be the reserve opener in the squad.
Middle Order –
Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya
Virat Kohli will play at his usual number 3 position in the batting line-up. The top 3 players will look to take the responsibility of scoring maximum runs as they have done in the last five years or so.
After his impressive performances in West Indies, Shreyas Iyer might regain his spot in the playing XI and play at number 4 spot. Manish Pandey will in all likelihood make way for Iyer in the XI.
Rishabh Pant and Pandya brothers will be the floaters in the XI as their batting position might depend upon the match situation. The return of all-rounder, Hardik Pandya will certainly provide a boost to the Indian middle order.
Lower order –
Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed
India play this series without any of their front line seamers. The inexperienced duo of Khaleel Ahmed and Deepak Chahar will handle the pace bowling department along with Hardik Pandya. Navdeep Saini might also be in contention but the above-mentioned players might get the nod initially.
Seasoned campaigner, Ravindra Jadeja will lead the spin attack. He will be joined by the likes of Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar. All three of them also have the ability to contribute with the bat. Leg spinner Rahul Chahar might miss out as team management might want an off-spinner in the side to counter a couple of left-handers in South Africa’s XI like Quinton de Kock and David Miller.
Ideal XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed