After a record-breaking One-day series against England, India would look to dominate the 2016 ICC World T20 finalists in the first game of the T20I series at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur. This game will be the first T20I match for Virat Kohli as the full-time captain of the Indian senior team.
Here is our predicted XI for the first match.
1. KL Rahul
KL Rahul would want to settle the opening debate in limited-overs cricket once for all. He disappointed his fans in the 50-over series against the Englishmen with the scores of 8, 5, and 11 respectively, but his talent and ability were well-documented in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Karnataka opener had struck a century against West Indies in Florida, thus becoming only the third player in India to score centuries in all three formats of the game. In the absence of Shikhar Dhawan, he is sure to get a go.
2. Rishabh Pant
Pant had a prolific Ranji Trophy season, in which he scored a staggering aggregate of 972 runs at an average of 81 for Delhi. Pant caught the eye of the selectors by smashing a 326-ball 308 against Maharashtra after keeping wickets for 175 overs. Should he get his maiden International cap, Punjab batsman Mandeep Singh will have to sit out the match.
3. Virat Kohli (capt)
The Indian skipper has been in imperious form and finished as the top-scorer across all formats in 2016 and would love to carry the same momentum in this year as well. This will be his first full series as the skipper of the T20I side.
4. Suresh Raina
Local lad Suresh Raina will see this series as an opportunity to resurrect his sinusoidal career. Raina hasn't played much cricket before the series and last played for India in March 2016 in the ICC T20 World Cup. He had to sit out of the team despite originally being included in India's ODI squad for the New Zealand series due to a bout of viral fever.
5. Yuvraj Singh
A century in the second One-day international against England meant Yuvraj has fixed his berth for the Champions Trophy. This T20 series is a chance for him to get more game time before traveling to England in June.
6. MS Dhoni (WK)
This will only be the second time that MS Dhoni will play under someone in T20 format. But Dhoni- with diminishing power to finish off the game will take this series as an opportunity to prove his worth in the shortest format of the game. Make no mistake about his ability to contribute without the bat as well as Dhoni has been invaluable behind the wicket, especially when there is DRS on offer.
In the One-day series with his all-round abilities, Hardik Pandya underlined why the selectors were right in giving him a long run. He was economical with the ball and scored valuable runs in the first and third ODI, thus making him a sure pick in the first T20 game of the series.
8. Amit Mishra
For the only spot of a leg-spinner, Amit Mishra will be against his statemate Yuzvendra Chahal, but in all probability, he will get a chance in the first T20I due to his vast experience.
The comeback to the national team will not be that happier for Jammu & Kashmir spinner Parvez Rasool, as Virat Kohli may opt for Bhuvneshwar Kumar as a part of the three-seamer bowling attack. Kumar was pretty impressive against England with his improved death-bowling ability. He was the vital cog in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s triumphant run in 2016 IPL, and his expertise in the shortest format of the game will help him in the series.
10. Ashish Nehra
The veteran Delhi pacer would be eager to prove his fitness in his first international after knee surgery. He looked sharp during the ICC World T20 and his vast experiences would come as a huge boost for the players in the dressing room.
11. Jasprit Bumrah
Known for his lethal Yorkers, Bumrah’s stock delivery has been replaced by wide-outside-the-off-stump full-tosses, and the Englishmen took a special liking towards him in the One-day series. So, he will try to prove his credentials in the T20 series, where he had always done better.