India's Predicted XI for the first T20I at Wellington

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BCCI

India vs New Zealand | India’s predicted XI for the first T20I at Wellington

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SportsCafe Desk

02/05/2019

After a comprehensive win in the ODIs, India now have a chance to do the limited overs double when the two sides go head to head in the T20I series from tomorrow. With two first team players, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah, unavailable, skipper Rohit Sharma will have a big decision on his hands.

Openers

Shikhar Dhawan: In a team where Kohli and Rohit are often seen as Superheroes, Dhawan has proved time and again that he can stand tall with the right handed duo. After the a couple of half centuries in as many games in the ODI series, Dhawan will want to prove his worth on the swinging track that Wellington is sure to provide.

Rohit Sharma: In Kohli’s absence, not only does Rohit have to take care of the captaincy but also the top order with some inexperienced players following him. He will have to, as they say, grab the game by the scruff of the neck and play all out if India want to improve their T20I record against New Zealand, who currently hold the bragging rights with a 6-2 lead.

Middle-order

Shubman Gill: What most people who don’t follow domestic or A cricket don’t realize is that the youngster has earned his place in this team. He averages a cool 77.78, 45.44, and 33.83 across the three formats. As far as his two international games are concerned, he was thrown into the deep end on swinging tracks which would have been a tricky proposition for anyone. He should retain his place for the first T20I.

Rishabh Pant: There have been many voices coming out of India who have said that he needs to be in the final squad for the World Cup simply because of his aggressive approach. We have all seen what he has done in the IPL but it is now his turn to do it on the biggest stage if he wants to challenge Dhoni before next year’s World Cup. MS Dhoni: How good is this guy. Forget Baba Ramdev, we need to have what he is having. Dhoni’s second coming is just as impressive as his first and now he is even deadlier behind the stumps. The only question that remains to be answered is if he is ready to extend for another year till the World T20 because otherwise, this is the ideal time to call it quits and groom a new player to take over.

All-rounder

Kedar Jadhav: This is where Rohit has to make a decision. He has both Jadhav and Shankar available for this game with both showing off their mettle in the ODI series. However, Jadhav’s power hitting might just get him the nod over Shankar. However, with swinging conditions in mind, it would not be a shocker if the latter is picked.

Hardik Pandya: The mental strength of a player is often tested when they go through a tough period and we see what the player is actually made of. And if Pandya is to be graded on the same, he has come out aces. To go through, what he went through and come out the other side with two exceptional performances should tell you why he has Kohli’s backing even when he might not be the best on the field.

Krunal Pandya: While this might look like an odd option with the batting firepower above him, Pandya Sr. has never played better than under the leadership of Rohit Sharma. And with Wellington still being the same old troubling ground, it is never a bad option to have an extra warrior who can wield the willow.

Spinners

Yuzvendra Chahal: This is a hard call to make but it has to be the “GrandMaster”. He has the experience of bowling at the Chinnaswamy, which is a batsman’s paradise, and somehow managed to have an economy of less than 8. His T20I record is not too shabby as well with an average of 18.8, leaking 7.81 runs per over.

Pacers

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: In the absence of Bumrah, the onus is well and truly on him. His ability to make the ball move to his tune at the start and bowl those incredible variations at the end of the innings make him a guaranteed starter in the game. What he does in the first couple of overs might decide whether India have a win at the end of the day.

Khaleel Ahmed: Indian fans are dying to have a left arm pacer in the team that would complete the full set and maks the side the best bowling attack on the planet. He has been given six chances to prove that he is that man but it is not quite worked out for him yet. He might be running out of opportunities soon and the Wellington track might just be what he needs to kick start his career.

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