Currently, the Sri Lankan team is struggling to prove their worth I international cricket. Recently, they lost an ODI series to the minnows Zimbabwe by a margin of 3-2. The wounds of that loss are yet to be healed and now they are going to face merciless Team India in the next assignment.
Despite the fact that team India failed to win the ICC Champions Trophy, they are way stronger as a team than the Lankans. Their top 3 are sufficient to demotivate the Sri Lankan team as they have lost just one ODI tournament from the past one year and that was the CT 2017 itself.
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BCCI has confirmed that Indian captain Virat Kohli will be rested from the upcoming ODI series against Sri Lanka. Kohli needed a rest as India will be playing against some big guns like Australia and South Africa in next couple of months.
It seems that Rohit Sharma, who is also the deputy skipper of Indian in limited overs format, will be leading the team in Kohli’s absence. Rohit is the captain of the three times IPL winning Mumbai Indian team and it would be a great opportunity for him to lead the senior pros like MS Dhoni.
Considering Indian batting line-up, it will be a great opportunity for stalwarts like Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni, whose worth has been regularly questioned for the World Cup 2019. The southpaw didn’t have a great outing in the Caribbean island and therefore the upcoming series might play a make or break role in his career. If we failed to perform against the Lankans then it might put a full stop to the elegant left-hander’s career, especially with the younger pool of players ready to replace him.
On the other hand, Dhoni isn’t under as much scrutiny as Yuvraj, as he played some crucial knocks against West Indies and his keeping skills are yet to be replaced. However, both the stalwarts will be playing all the games in the upcoming series and give their best shot.
India’s opening slot is under a lot of scrutinies as after being named the Man of the Series in the Caribbean, Ajinkya Rahane certainly becomes a prime contender. KL Rahul might also make come back into the squad especially in the absence of Kohli. If given a chance, Rahul will look to make the most out of it without second thoughts. For the one off T20I though, Rahul is preferable ahead of Shikhar Dhawan and open alongside Rohit.
Manish Pandey also seems to be making a comeback as he was the Man of the Series in recently concluded India A’s victorious campaign in South Africa. There would be a tight tussle between him and Yuvraj for the number four position.
Coming to the lower order, it can be expected that the spin twins Ravindra Jadeja and R. Ashwin will be rested keeping in mind the upcoming challenges of Australia and South Africa. With the likes of Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav raring to go, it will be difficult decision to pick between these three.
Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav will be the clear picks with their tremendous finisher capabilities. Pandya can also be used as a 5th bowler to bowl his quota of ten overs more often than not. This series will be an ideal opportunity for him to prove his bowling skills.
The pace attack is expected to be comprised of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammad Shami. If selectors decide to rest Umesh Yadav, then there will be a chance for either Shardul Thakur or Siddharth Kaul as a backup pacer, as both young lads have done did exceptionally well in South Africa for India A.
It can be easily predicted that Indian selectors will pick the ODI squad while keeping prospects for the 2019 World Cup in mind.
Here is the probable Indian ODI and T20I squad vs Sri Lanka: R. Sharma (c), S. Dhawan, , A. Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), K. Jadhav, H. Pandya, A. Patel, K. Yadav, B. Kumar, M. Shami, J. Bumrah, M. Pandey, KL Rahul, Y. Chahal