After getting whitewashed in the two-match Test series, West Indies players did a decent job in the five-match ODI series against India, losing it by 3-1. India won the last ODI at the Greenfields Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday without breaking a sweat to clinch the series. Now the two teams will be locking horns at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata for the 1st T20I on Sunday, November 4.
The T20 squad doesn’t comprise of MS Dhoni, who has been was dropped from the side with wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant filling in for him. With Virat Kohli also being rested for the series, it looks like there will be a few notable changes in India’s playing XI for the first game. Although it really is anyone’s guess as to who will make the starting XI, here’s our attempt to predicted a line-up of the Indian team against West Indies in the first T20I.
At the top, it looks certain that skipper Rohit Sharma will open along with Shikhar Dhawan followed by, KL Rahul and Manish, who warmed the bench during the ODI series. While Rahul looks most likely to occupy the number three spot, Pandey could end up batting at four. It will be interesting to see if the team management decides to play Dinesh Karthik along with Rishabh Pant since the latter has been selected to test his wicket-keeping skills. To Karthik’s credit, he has been an excellent T20 player this year, especially in the Nidahas trophy in Sri Lanka, and could get the nod ahead of other batsmen in the 1st game.
In the absence of younger brother Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya will be expected to fulfill the all-rounder duties in the team. The southpaw is a T20 specialist of sorts, has had a good IPL season this year and will be a crucial player for India against West Indies fixtures.
Amongst the bowlers, it is likely that India will go with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah as the two fast bowling options. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will play a crucial role as the spinners in Eden Gardens. However, after looking at the dew factor in Kolkata, the team management might also consider giving Khaleel Ahmed his debut T20I cap as he can be an extra fast bowler to the mix. If India does manage to win the first two T20s against West Indies, it is certain that players like Shreyas Iyer, Washington Sundar, and Shahbaz Nadeem will get a call-up to the playing XI in the final game.
Predicted XI of India for the Kolkata T20I:
Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Krunal Pandya/Khaleel Ahmed, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal.