Sri Lankan commentator Russel Arnold has asserted that he's jealous of India's immense bench strength and reckoned that Prithvi Shaw will be one of the game-changers for India in the series. He also named Avishka Fernando as the game-changer for the hosts, who have been in a spot, of late.
With most of India's first-choice players on the tour of England at present, the second-string Indian side will take on Sri Lanka from Sunday in the three-match ODI series in Colombo. There are only three experienced players in the form of Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya, but a host of match-winners in the young unit, who can come in handy for the Men in Blue. The white-ball series is also seen as a potential opportunity for the fringe players to stake a claim for spots in the side for the T20 World Cup. This will be India's final international appearance in T20 internationals before the ICC mega-event.
Despite missing a plethora of stars, there's no dearth of outstanding talents in the Indian team. Reflecting on the same, former Sri Lanka batsman Russel Arnold stated that he's jealous of the Indian unit, as they have so many good players. When asked about the game-changers, he named Avishka Fernando, Shikhar Dhawan, the Pandya brothers and Prithvi Shaw.
“For Sri Lanka, I will go with Avishka Fernando at the top of the order. Let me go outside the box with India. Of course, you will be looking at Dhawan and Pandyas to perform but I’m thinking Prithvi Shaw might get a run. Helpfully he will prove me right by entertaining everyone. I just feel jealous that India have those cricketers," Arnold told HT.
"Even this team, we’ve seen them play. We’ve seen the quality they bring. There is a lot of experience too in Shikhar Dhawan, the Pandyas, spinners Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. There’s a lot of exciting prospects.”
“We also know about the youngsters and what they can do. The question for the India team would be, can these youngsters actually perform on their own knowing that there is no cushion of a Rohit or Virat. Can they take that next step? It will be exciting to see. Like I said, I’m jealous that India are actually in this position (of having so many quality players),” Arnold added.