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Monday, April 12, 2021

India vs England 1st T20 Playing 11: Shikhar Dhawan or KL Rahul

India take on England in the first T20I on Friday

By: Sports Desk |
March 12, 2021 3:02:23 pm
India's players attend a practice session ahead of their first Twenty20 International match against England. (Source: Reuters)

The T20I series between India and England begin on Friday with the hosts focusing on getting a clearer idea of what the core group of players should be for the Virat Kohli-led side with eyes set on the ICC T20 World Cup in October.

The biggest question remains who Rohit Sharma’s opening partner is going to be between KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan. If Kohli decides to accommodate Dhawan, then he will have to push Rahul down at No.4 as the Bengaluru man’s place in the playing XI at this point of time is non-negotiable.

Featuring both of them would mean no place for either Shreyas Iyer or Suryakumar Yadav, who is finally set to wear the India Blues after years of hardship. The option of explosive hitting, that one among Shreyas and Surya can provide at No 4 or 5, is very enticing and the team management for one wouldnt like to miss out on an opportunity to exploit that advantage.

With the unavailability of Thangarasu Natarajan in the bowling department, Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be back leading the attack along side another senior Yuzvendra Chahal for company.

With England’s weakness against slow bowlers’ well-documented in these conditions, Chahal could have both Washington Sundar and Axar Patel for company which leaves Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar and Navdeep Saini in a three-way battle.

For England, the white ball format presents them with multi-skilled cricketers like Stokes, Sam Curran and IPL auction sensation Moeen Ali for starters, who can change the complexion of any game in either departments.

Throw in specialists like pacers Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Chris Jordan and wrist spinner Adil Rashid, it will be a contest where India can never be termed firm favourites.

Squad:

India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Tewatia, Ishan Kishan (reserve wkeeper).

England: Eoin Morgan (captain), Joss Buttler, Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley, Chris Jordan, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Jonny Bairstow, Jofra Archer.

Probable XI:

India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Hardik Pandya, Akshar Patel, Washington Sundar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal

England: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler(WK), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan (C), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan.

The Motera track will certainly be a flat deck, suiting the needs of the shortest format and with a lot of batting firepower in both sides, the Ahmedabad skyline could witness a lot of fireworks from both ends.

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