Nidahas Trophy: Chance For the Indian Youngster to Shine
New look Indian team as selectors decide to rest Kohli and Dhoni
We are yet to get over the hangover of the South Africa tour and here comes another overseas assignment for India — the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka, India’s first ever T20 International tri-series. Along with the hosts and India, Bangladesh are the third team in the competition, which will be played between March 6 to 18 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Meanwhile, following the hectic schedule in South Africa, the selectors have decided to rest the top players like Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni in this tournament. Apart from the duo, the other limited-overs’ regulars like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and all-rounder Hardik Pandya will also miss the tri-series. In Virat’s absence, Rohit Sharma has been named the stand-in captain of India's 15-man squad, with Shikhar Dhawan his deputy.
The five new inclusions in the squad are flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, all-rounders Vijay Shankar and Washington Sundar, middle-order batsman Deepak Hooda and fast bowler Mohammad Siraj.
For this new-look Indian team, this tournament will be an ideal platform for the youngsters to make a mark.
With so many youngsters in the squad, we will be watching a brand-new team combination when the Indian team will take field on Tuesday (March 6) in the tournament opener against the hosts.
Following the regular Rohit-Dhawan opening combination and No. 3 Suresh Raina, someone like KL Rahul, who was in the T20I squad in South Africa but didn’t get a game, is expected to take the No. 4 slot in the batting order, whereas, Manish Pandey is most likely to bat at 5. In place of Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik will be India’s first-choice keeper.
After finishing the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament as the joint highest run-getter (411 runs in 10 matches at an average of 45.66 and with a strike-rate of 195.71), there are high chances of Pant getting a chance in the playing eleven purely as a batsman.
In place of Pandya, Tamil Nadu's Shankar can be an ideal replacement. However, if there is turn in the Premadasa wicket than Baroda all-rounder Hooda and Shankar’s Tamil Nadu teammate Sundar will be in the reckoning. Apart from being well-equipped batsmen, both can bowl some handy off-spin.
The pace bowling department will be looked after by Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat and Siraj. There is a significant lack of experience in this section and in crunch situations, it can cost India. However, from a different point of view, if these young bowlers can put up a good show in Colombo than in this year’s tour of England, they might end up getting an opportunity.
Meanwhile, in this tri-series, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel will be India’s two mainstream spinners. With the ball in hand, both are expected to play a vital role in this team.
Despite being depleted in various departments, India still have a fair bit of depth and quality in the squad and quite rightly they are being considered as a favourite to win the competition.
Indian Squad: Rohit Sharma (C), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammad Siraj, Rishabh Pant.