So, after the boring affair of England vs Australia, here comes the English cricketing summer's main event - India vs England clash that promises to be blockbuster viewing. However, a T20 series that lacks any sort of context can provide India a chance to check their strength ahead of the ODIs.
Coming into the series, both the teams have been in excellent form. While England
Shikhar Dhawan: This is a selection headache that Virat Kohli is currently facing. While Rohit Sharma’s demotion to No.4 position didn’t work well, the team decided to rest “Gabbar” for the second T20I against Ireland to give KL Rahul a chance. As Rahul put up a man of the performance by scoring a 36-ball 70 to match Dhawan’s 45-ball 74, Kohli’s worries increased manifold. However, Dhawan, especially in England where he had the fond memories of 2013 Champions Trophy, is too good a player to be left out and will return to the team today.
Rohit Sharma: The Rohit Sharma-KL Rahul conundrum has been a nice menace for the team management recently. While the latter set the IPL stage on fire by scoring runs like anything, the former is touted as one of the best white-ball players of the generation. And as far as the similarity goes, both struggled to get going in the middle order and that’s why Rohit may trump Rahul because of his immense experience.
Virat Kohli: Here is Virat Kohli’s chance to prove the naysayers wrong. While the outlets are kept on reminding the Indian skipper of his forgettable tour in 2014, here is Kohli - a
Suresh Raina: After getting a lifeline in the team thanks to Ambati Rayudu’s failure to pass the controversial yo-yo test, Suresh Raina made a statement of intent in the second T20I in Dublin by scoring a match-winning 69 off 45 balls. While the pitch is expected to be hard and true and good for batting, Raina will try to make sure that he will use this as an opportunity for bigger and grander things ahead.
MS Dhoni: The former Indian skipper was in splendid form in the IPL and will be keen to carry forward the same momentum in the series against England so as to silence the critics, once and for all. The T20I series will provide Dhoni
Hardik Pandya: The all-rounder has recently struggled with the ball, but he has to prove his worth in the T20I series - both with the bat and ball to keep his place in the side. No doubt about the amount of potential that he has as far as hard-hitting is concerned - his 9-ball 32 in Dublin is another validation - and given the flat batting decks in England, it is a win-win for the star from Baroda.
Dinesh Karthik: On March 18, in the space of some 20 minutes, Dinesh Karthik did more to prove his quality on the consciousness of the cricketing fraternity
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: The English conditions are just made for Bhuvneshwar to wreck havoc. To go with the swinging conditions, the weather is going to be helpful for pacers and he will try to get the benefit of the same to the fullest. He can be a useful bat as well and India will want him to do his bit to keep England batters in check.
Kuldeep Yadav: Kuldeep Yadav’s strike rate of 11.2 in T20I bowling, which is the best among all spinners who have bowled in ten or more T20I innings. Considering Manchester is more warm than usual and there is no prediction of rain today, he can be lethal against England.
Yuzvendra Chahal: Pretty much like his partner-in-crime, Chahal has the third-best strike rate among all spinners who have bowled in ten or more T20I innings. His wrist-spin was a great help for India in the recent times and don’t be surprised if he strangulates the English batsmen with his googlies.
Umesh Yadav: Umesh Yadav was the biggest positive this year for Royal Challengers Bangalore, and is likely to get the nod ahead of Siddarth Kaul to the fast bowler's spot left vacant by the injured Jasprit Bumrah. Umesh's ability to trouble the batsmen with pace in the powerplay overs could be a big asset against this England side.