India's Predicted XI for the first T20I against Australia

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India vs Australia | India’s Predicted XI for the first T20I in Vizag

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SportsCafe Desk

02/23/2019

After a good couple of weeks of break, Indian players will don the blue jersey once again and this time against the same old Australia. While the T20s hold very little significance in the context of the present time, India will aim to give some players a break before taking them out in the ODIs.

Openers

Shikhar Dhawan: With Rohit Sharma playing restless cricket, India may decide to put him on the bench for the first game and give the main opening duty to Shikhar Dhawan, who has been hot and cold in the last summer. The southpaw has always been fluent against the Aussies and will try to put pressure against a Mitchell Starc-less Australia.

KL Rahul: After a couple of 80-plus innings for India A against England Lions - albeit in the longest version of the game - he is back in the squad and has been given a final opportunity to seal the spot for the World Cup. In his success in the T20I series lies the chance of getting a game in the ODI series and the series would also define how much the Karnataka batsman has learned from the past experiences.

Middle-order

Virat Kohli: After being rested for the last two ODIs and the entire T20 series, the Indian skipper will be back for the home series against Australia. After the gap of almost three weeks, he must be feeling fresh and will be mentally ready to shed the back pain that he sustained in Hamilton and score some runs ahead of the ODI series.

Rishabh Pant: That India picked him ahead of fairly-successful Dinesh Karthik in the ODI series speaks volume about the trust that the team management has in him. While he has partly been successful in living up to the reputation with some clean hitting, his lack of game and situation awareness resulted in India losing the plot often.

MS Dhoni: The year 2019 has seen the third wind in MS Dhoni’s career and his reinvention made sure that the country sleeps peacefully now despite the fragility of the middle-overs. The wicket-keeper batsman is as uncanny as ever behind the stumps and despite not being able to strike the jackpot right away with the bat, he is good enough to launch the assault. 

All-rounders

Vijay Shankar: He is the dark horse in the league and no one realised how smoothly Vijay Shankar has made a transition from India’s national villain to be in the plans for the World Cup. In the absence of Hardik Pandya, he will have another opportunity to showcase his prowess and success in that can never rule out the chances of making it to the playing XI in England in June.

Krunal Pandya: The senior Pandya is the ideal prototype of a T20 all-rounder and has always been up to the task - be it batting, or bowling, or fielding. By never shying from whatever being asked of him, Krunal has given the team a happy headache. It will be only good for the Indian cricket that he keeps on doing the same things in the future as well.

Pacers

Jasprit Bumrah: And he will be back! India had rested their premier pacer for the entire limited-overs tour after the Australia Test series and now, Bumrah will return to lead the pace-bowling unit, in the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. For the Gujarat pacer, it is always about rhythm and once he finds that tomorrow, it will be very hard for the visitors to stop him.

Umesh Yadav: There is a problem with Umesh Yadav and India need to address this sooner than later. He is extremely good when there is a bit of reverse swing on offer but often failed that count in other situations. So how much he can contribute is a matter of question, but India won’t have many choices.

Spinners:

Yuzvendra Chahal: Chahal took six wickets in the deciding ODI in Melbourne when he switched places with Kuldeep Yadav and he will carry the New Zealand momentum on his return to India. The leggie has always preferred Australia as his favourite opponents and his variations are too good for flat Indian surfaces too. 

Mayank Markande: In the absence of Kuldeep Yadav, don’t be surprised if India hand over the spin duties to Mayank Markande. The young Punjab spinner was impressive in the last IPL, making MS Dhoni suffer to no end, and his short height coupled with that high-arm flipper can cause problems for the Aussies. 

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