One thing after another, sportsmen sure have it tough. It doesn’t matter if they play either tennis or football or badminton, they sure have it tough. Take our Indian Cricket Team, for example. After a disastrous series in South Africa, India locked their horns with a resurgent West Indies side. After trashing West Indies in ODI and T20I series, India is now looking to host their neighbours, Sri Lanka, for a three-match T20I and a two-match Test series.
Before we start off predicting the series results, how about we take a look at a few facts. India has been dominant in their home as the last time they lost a T20 series at home was way back in 2015. In tests, Virat Kohli has marked an era of dominance that made others start sweating just by the thought of playing in the Indian subcontinent.
It is a pity that we can no longer see Virat Kohli lead an aggressive Indian side, his successor Rohit Sharma is no stranger to leadership either. Rohit, in a way, is the opposite of Virat. Virat is led by his passion and aggression, while Rohit leads with his composure and strategies, similar to MS Dhoni. Now let’s see what’s in the store for the next 20 days.
Sri Lanka is in for a turbulent ride in familiar yet strange Indian conditions. India would be eager to chew down Sri Lanka after a disappointing loss in the T20 series against the Islanders some 6 months back. While it was a reserve Indian side that played, a loss is still a loss for Indians. In recent times, India has always made sure to serve its revenge as coldly as possible. To make it more interesting, Rohit Sharma has some memorable records against Sri Lanka.
The series will be a three-match T20I series, with the first match at Ekana Sports City at Lucknow and the remainder of the games to be played at HPCA Stadium at Dharamsala. Rohit Sharma will lead the side with Jasprit Bumrah as his deputy. The 15-man squad consists of in-form all-rounders Suryakumar Yadav and Venkatesh Iyer. The bowling department boasts of an experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been the best bowler in the recently concluded series.
Accompanying him are Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Md. Siraj and Avesh Khan. The spin department will be led by Yuzvendra Chahal, who will have the support from long-time partner Kuldeep Yadav and young Ravi Bishnoi. The series marks the return of Ravindra Jadeja and Sanju Samson to the Indian side. Ishan Kishan will be expected to don the gloves without regular choice Rishabh Pant. Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, and Deepak Hooda fill up the remaining spots. Virat Kohli has been rested for the T20 series, and Suryakumar Yadav might be slotted at #3, his regular spot at Mumbai Indians.
The team lacks batting depth on paper, but the all-rounders might make most of their chances. Rohit Sharma expressed his concern over allotting lack of playing time to Shreyas Iyer in the recently concluded series. He might be slotted at his usual #4 for this T20 series. It remains to be seen how Rohit Sharma encourages talented Ruturaj Gaikwad to perform at international standards. Ishan Kishan’s poor form might be a concern for India. Jasprit Bumrah will be playing in home conditions for the first time in a long time. Ravindra Jadeja might take time to adjust back into the Indian setup.
While Sri Lanka is surely not a team to laugh about, given India’s home advantage and the strength in their ranks, the odds are stacked against Sri Lanka.
After the three-match T20 series comes a much anticipated two-match Test series, and Sri Lanka has never looked in control in their recent Test series.
Rohit Sharma is set to lead the Indian side for the first time in his longest-format career. Jasprit Bumrah retains his role as the vice-captain, playing his first home series in a very long time. The squad comprises Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill. Virat Kohli will be batting mainstay at #4 along with the skipper Rohit Sharma, while Priyank Panchal will be expecting to get his maiden Indian cap. Rishabh Pant will be the first-choice keeper in the squad, with KS Bharat as his back-up. India has excluded Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara after their bad form over the past few months. https://twitter.com/ESPNcricinfo/status/1494997291014389763
The pace department will be led by Jasprit Bumrah, who will partner with Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammed Siraj. Thanks to his impressive performances in the domestic circuit, Saurabh Kumar has earned the national team call-up. When talking about subcontinent pitches, spinners play a decisive role. Leading the spin department would be the veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who alone can turn the tide of matches, even in spin-unfriendly conditions.
Imagine leaving him out open in the pitches that are known to be spinners’ paradise. Accompanying him will be Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, and Kuldeep Yadav. India has chosen to rest the likes of KL Rahul, Shardul Thakur, and Deepak Chahar due to their immense load in the recent series. While Sri Lanka boasts some quality spinners, the experience Ashwin and Jadeja bring to the Indian side will be an important aspect. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli’s reliable performances make them vital for India. While not much is expected from the pace unit, Bumrah would love to get some early breakthroughs. Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari are known for their ability to play spin bowling.
If either can hold one end, the match would be entirely in favour of the home side. Priyank Panchal can be a dark horse if left unattended. To put it blatantly, India will dominate Sri Lanka in both the Tests scheduled at Chandigarh and Bangalore, respectively.
Indian side looks extremely hard to beat, as they tick all the right boxes. They have a neat blend of experience and youth, a synergy between pace and spin, and their stars act as their main pivots giving freedom to the rest of the team. All that’s left is an execution play. If India implements their tactics, they should have no worries about beating Sri Lanka, who have never been a threat ever since Kumar Sangakkara retired. But complacency can pave open the doors for unexpected shortcomings. Whatever it might be, we will assure you one thing, it’s going to be fun cheering for the Men in the Blue.