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INDvWI 1st T20I Preview: Big guns return as T20 World Cup auditions heat up

With skipper Virat Kohli returning, and the inclusion of some senior bowlers - Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal - India go into the first T20I vs West Indies on Friday as overwhelming favourites.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: December 6, 2019 12:16:47 pm
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India have brought back some veterans to their T20I team as they prepare to take on the West Indies in a three-match series, which starts in Hyderabad on Friday.

With skipper Virat Kohli returning, and the inclusion of a few senior bowlers – Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal – India go into the first match as overwhelming favourites.

With some spots in the World T20 squad yet to be sealed, Team India will be looking for some players to step up in the time that remains. The World Cup will be played in Australia in October 2020.

The spotlight in terms of places in the squad will be brightest behind the stumps. Rishabh Pant can be expected to be selected as wicketkeeper, but time is surely running out on him.

Sanju Samson, who has been included in the side in place of Shikhar Dhawan, is an option. As is KL Rahul, who did a fine job behind the stumps for Karnataka in the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy matches. He would hardly be the first Rahul from Karnataka who India would have moulded from a specialist batsman to a wicketkeeper batsman for a World Cup.

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With Dhawan also out of form, this series could also be an opportunity for Rahul to seal the spot of Rohit Sharma’s opening partner.

Waiting in the wings in case India fail to zero in on a wicketkeeping option, of course, is MS Dhoni.

India’s bowling attack for the West Indies series has a more experienced look to it after the Bangladesh series.

Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami – who last appeared in a T20I in 2017 – return to the squad, with all of Khaleel Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar being dropped.

Also Read | Only one spot up for grabs in pace attack for T20 World Cup: Kohli

For the West Indies, who have been playing against Afghanistan in India over the last month, they may have got sufficient opportunity to acclimatize themselves, but fatigue could also work against them.

With Kieron Pollard at the helm, the Windies have not exactly hit the ground running. They lost the T20I series to Rashid Khan’s Afghanistan last month. The likes of Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons need to be in scoring form. Youngsters like Sherfane Rutherford and Shimron Hetmyer might come up with a surprise or two.

India squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami.

West Indies squad: Kieron Pollard (captain), Fabian Allen, Brandon King, Denesh Ramdin, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Sherfane Rutherford, Shimron Hetmyer, Khary Pierre, Lendl Simmons, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh Jr, Keemo Paul, Kesrick Williams.

Match starts at 7 pm IST

Also Read | Third umpire to call front foot no balls in India-West Indies series

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