India and Sri Lanka will be facing each other in the first game of the three-match T20I series on Tuesday, January 3, at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Ahead of the first T20I, former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer predicted India’s playing combination for the opening game but left out the youngsters who have earned their maiden call-up.
While many of the senior cricketers were excluded from the T20Is, Hardik Pandya has been appointed as the captain for the young group. The last time India and Sri Lanka faced each other was during the Asia Cup 2022. India lost the game to Sri Lanka in the Super Four stage of the tournament and the loss eventually led to the Men in Blue being knocked out of the race to the finals.
Taking to Twitter, Wasim Jaffer shared his ideal Playing XI for India for the Mumbai T20i as he decided to go with Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan as the opening batters, with vice-captain Suryakumar Yadav completing the top order. While Kishan has the experience of playing T20Is, Jaffer reckons that Gill will finally receive the long-awaited T20I cap based on his recent outings.
Jaffer included Sanju Samson in the team, as a middle-order batter, but named Kishan as the wicket-keeper batter for the game. With Samson at No. 4, Jaffer reckons skipper Pandya will come out to play at No. 5. While Pandya will be the pace-bowling all-rounder, Jaffer named three spin-bowling all-rounders in the team as he included Axar Patel, Deepak Hooda, and Washington Sundar.
Harshal Patel, who has been out of the Indian squad for the past few months, makes it to Jaffer’s playing combination, as he left out Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, and Mukesh Kumar. The lineup is completed by senior spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and the young pacer, Arshdeep Singh.
Wasim Jaffer’s Predicted India XI for the first T20I:
Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan (wk), Suryakumar Yadav (vc), Sanju Samson, Hardik Pandya (c), Axar Patel, Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh