The action of the India vs England T20I series will unfold at the re-constructed World's largest Stadium in Ahmedabad. The five-match T20I series will see England, the No.1 ranked T20I side, lock horns against the home team in what promises to be a thrilling contest between bat and ball. With a T20 World Cup scheduled to take place in India later this year, both teams will consider it as an opportunity to figure out the best suitable playing 11 for the marquee event.
India recently announced a 19-man T20I squad for the five T20Is against England. A few performers from the domestic tournament and IPL were included in the squad. The likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, and Rahul Tewatia were finally rewarded as they received their maiden T20I call-up in the India squad. It will be interesting to see if any of the debutants get an opportunity to represent India in the playing 11 in any of the five upcoming games.
India Squad for the five-match T20I series against England:
Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (Wk), Ishan Kishan (Wk), Hardik Pandya, Rahul Tewatia, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, T Natarajan
Here's a look at predicted playing 11 of India for the T20I series against England at Ahmedabad:
1. Openers: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul
India is likely to open the batting with the pair of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. Two of India's finest batters in this format, Rohit and KL have usually complemented each other very well in the past. Rohit is the second-highest run-scorer in the T20Is while Rahul possesses the game that suits the T20 style of batting. In fact, Rahul's T20 form for Karnataka and Punjab Kings in the IPL has been unbelievable in the past few years.
As a result, India might have to make a tough decision of leaving out Shikhar Dhawan from the playing 11, who otherwise would've opened alongside Sharma. With Rohit and KL, India has an advantage that both these players can score big runs and that too at a healthy strike rate.
2. Middle-Order: Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya
The ‘Men in Blue' have potentially one of the best middle-order line-ups in the world. With the experience of skipper Kohli at three, combined with the exuberance of Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya's hard-hitting ability at the following spots, the batting order is largely sorted for Team India.
The duo of Iyer and Pandya can take the attack on the opposition with their batting might in helping the team post a huge score. Pandya's batting form, lately, augurs well for the team as someone who can cause equal damage both against spin and pace.
3. All-Rounders: Rishabh Pant (Wk), Washington Sundar
At No.6, India has enjoyed the luxury of having an explosive wicket-keeper batsman in the playing 11 in form of Rishabh Pant. The left-hander bats with an attacking instinct to score runs at a brisk pace. Pant can play the finisher's role with his ability to tear-apart most bowler on his day. Despite having a mediocre record for India in T20Is, the Delhi player has rightfully claimed his spot to be named in the playing 11 based upon his recent exploits in Australia.
At No.7, Washington Sundar is likely to get a go-ahead as an all-rounder in the team. Sundar has gained massive respect from the cricket community after his brilliant outing against Australia at Gabba. Despite it being a different format, it would have done a world of good to his confidence as an International cricketer. Team India would expect nothing but a string of consistent performances from the RCB all-rounder to provide a great balance to the playing 11.
4. Bowlers: Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, T Natarajan
With Jasprit Bumrah rested, India will receive a significant boost upon the return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who will also lead the pace attack for the entire T20I series. Kumar will be partnered with Deepak Chahar to share the new ball duties. Chahar, who swings the ball upfront, will be India's key bet to provide early breakthroughs with the new ball. Yuzvendra Chahal is most likely to feature as the lone specialist spinner in the playing XI.
For death overs, in the absence of Bumrah, India will believe that T Natarajan can pick up his A-game. Natarajan has been an absolute revelation, especially with his consistency as a T20 bowler. His accuracy in the death overs makes him one of the toughest exponents to face for the opposition batters. The duo of Kumar and Natarajan are likely to take the onus of death overs in India's first-choice starting XI.