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.
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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.