After the first T20I was washed out in Dharamsala, the action now shifts to Mohali for the second T20I and for Virat Kohli, this is an opportunity to try out new combinations. He has already said that the younger players coming into the side will have to take advantage of the limited opportunities they will be getting in the near future as the team builds for the T20 World Cup.
India blanked West Indies 3-0 in their last T20 assignment. The squad has remained the same barring the return of all-rounder Hardik Pandya in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been given a break. Here’s India’s Predicted XI for the 1st T20I against South Africa.
Rohit Sharma: Rohit Sharma has a lot in his plate right now. For the first time in his career he has been entrusted to open the innings in all three formats of the game after the selectors named him India’s Test opener for the South Africa series a couple of days ago. But his immediate job will be to do what he has been doing with some great success for India over the last few years, that is to give a strong start in limited overs cricket.
KL Rahul: Shikhar Dhawan has formed a potent combination with Rohit Sharma at the top of the order in ODIs, but his strike rate leaves a lot to be desired in T20Is. Hence, KL Rahul should get a long rope in this role with the license to go after the bowlers right from the first over.
Virat Kohli: The Indian captain has stressed on the importance to always keep the interests of the side above individual goals and the skipper has a great opportunity to lay the marker early in this series. He too needs to find the right pace in this format, especially because they have to look for scores upwards of 180 on a consistent bases.
Rishabh Pant: Both Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli have spoken a lot about the talent of Rishabh Pant and how his temperament and shot selection need to be a lot more astute. There is pressure on the young man and he needs to bat at number 4 in order to find time to impose himself on the opposition bowling attack after getting his eye in.
Manish Pandey: Manish Pandey has been in good form in the recent past – his unbridled approach in the IPL and then a string a consistent scores in the ‘A’ series which followed should give him the nod ahead of Shreyas Iyer. If he gets going in the middle order, India will get just the right push in the final few overs.
Hardik Pandya: The swashbuckling all-rounder will play his first match after the World Cup. Pandya’s inclusion provides a lot of balance to the Indian side. His seam bowling abilities not only allows India to field three spinners in their T20 sides but his prowess with the bat towards the end also gives a chance for the top order to build the innings at their own pace.
Ravindra Jadeja: Jadeja was not even considered for T20Is six months ago but his stunning show in all three departments of the game in the World Cup forced the team management to rethink their decision. He did his job even in the West Indies series is once again expected to play a crucial role against South Africa.
Krunal Pandya: Ideally, Krunal and Jadeja never should be part of the same XI. Both of them possess similar set of qualities. But such is the individual brilliance of both of them they their inclusion strengthens the Indian playing XI in the shortest format.
Washington Sundar: India’s new-ball specialist in T20s. Yes, you read that right. The teenager has fast developed a reputation of being a wicket-taking option for Virat Kohli with the new ball with his off-spinners. He did a fine job against West Indies in tying down the likes of Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer and is expected to the same against the Proteas.
Deepak Chahar: It’s a toss-up between Chahar and Khaleel for the third second seamer but considering the fact that the match will be played in Dharamsala, where the seams and swings a little bit more than more parts of India, Chahar might just get the nod ahead.
Navdeep Saini: The Delhi lad a stunning debut against West Indies, picking up three wickets in the first T20I. His pace and bounce can be handy against the likes of Quinton de Kock and David Miller.