With IPL 2021 postponed amid growing COVID-19 concerns, the entire focus in Indian cricket shifts towards the upcoming foreign tours including the much-awaited World Test Championship Final 2021 against New Zealand. While India has a nearly six-week gap before its first Test against England in August, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has indicated a probable limited-overs IND vs SL series in July 2021. Accordingly, India is expected to tour Sri Lanka to play three ODIs and five T20Is in the absence of their regular players.
It will be a second-string Indian team but will present a huge opportunity for some prolific young talent to exhibit their potency at the highest level. With most of the senior players unavailable, it will be interesting to see who is nominated as the Indian captain for the likely tour of Sri Lanka. In terms of experience, India can rely upon Shikhar Dhawan as the front-runner to lead the side in July this year.
Here's a look at 3 players who can Captain India in the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka in 2021:
1. Shikhar Dhawan
With an experience of nearly 250 international appearances for India, Shikhar Dhawan is most likely to captain India during the IND vs SL series in 2021. The Southpaw, who was in blistering run-scoring form in the IPL, will only be boosted by the new responsibility that might come his way. It will be a new challenge for Dhawan to lead a young group of players who will be willing to express themselves on the big stage. A happy-go-lucky person on the field, the onus of leading the Indian team should not affect his personal form, though he could follow a more cautious approach while batting.
2. Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is another player who can be looked upon as a decent captaincy option for the IND vs SL series 2021. Kumar, who was unexpectedly left out from India's Test squad, would be willing to produce a string of consistent performances against Sri Lanka. He might not get a better stage than the upcoming limited-overs series to once again grab the limelight as a premier white-ball bowler for India. At the same time, he would enjoy leading a young team and take the responsibility as one of the few senior players in delivering for the team's cause.
The right-arm swing bowler made a return in the India colors during the 2021 England series and did an exceedingly amazing job with the ball in hand. With a below-par IPL 2021, the 31-year old will be itching to put aside the doubts being raised over his skills in the recent past. The team management can definitely look towards Bhuvneshwar, who would himself love to count upon his experience of leading Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, as one of the contenders to captain India.
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3. Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya can also be considered to captain India on the tour of Sri Lanka in 2021. In his nearly four years of journey playing for India, Hardik has faced calamity and at the same time has prospered as a cricketer. Such ebbs and flows naturally make for a rich experience at the international level, educating the player more about his own game and the requirements of the teams.
Similarly, Hardik Pandya has grown as a core member of the Indian limited-overs setup. While on the field, the Baroda-born player is seen sharing his experience and being involved in player meetings with the skipper and the bowler. With most senior players unavailable for selection, it would worthy enough to put the onus of Hardik's young shoulders in allowing him to channelize his vigor and enthusiasm in the team as captain of the team.