In an ODI World Cup year, a bilateral T20I series can hold as much appeal for fans as a New Year’s party does for an introvert. It seems like nothing you can do without.
This is a new-look Indian side, with any one of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah missing from the team for different reasons. Do not share. This gives him as clean a slate as possible to write his T20I philosophy on, especially with the bat.
Sri Lanka may not have played a T20 match since the World Cup, but the Lanka Premier League took place last month. Even though it was a relatively low-scoring tournament, the players would be prepared for the challenge.
India TWLWW (Last five completed T20Is, most recent first)
Sri Lanka LWLLW
in the headlines
Last year, when India’s first-choice opener was not available, Ruturaj Gaikwad opened the innings alongside Ishan Kishan during the five-match T20I series against South Africa in June. While Kishan seems to have the confidence of the team management after his blistering double century in the third ODI against Bangladesh, this could be a crucial series for Gaikwad. If India are looking to change their batting template, they will need to improve their game for first-ten-ball strike rate in all T20s since the start of 2021, where ESPNcricinfo has ball-by-ball data , is only 98.33. Having said that, the corresponding figure for Kishan in the same period is also not very pleasing: 111.26.
If India reunite Kishan and Gaikwad at the top, Shubman Gill will have to wait longer to make his T20I debut. Meanwhile, Yuzvendra Chahal, who warmed the bench during the 2022 T20 World Cup, may return to the playing XI. However, he will face stiff competition from Axar Patel, especially if India go for batting depth.
India (Probable): 1 Ishan Kishan (wk), 2 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 3 Suryakumar Yadav, 4 Sanju Samson (wk), 5 Hardik Pandya (c), 6 Deepak Hooda, 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Harshal Patel, 9 Arshdeep Singh, 10 Umran Malik, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Sri Lanka may not make too many changes to their last playing XI, which faced England in the T20 World Cup. In any case, Dilshan Madushanka can replace Kasun Rajitha.
Sri Lanka (Probable): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Mendis (wk), 3 Dhananjay de Silva, 4 Charit Aslanka, 5 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 6 Dasun Shanaka (c), 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Mahesh Thikshan, 10 Dilshan Madushanka , 11 Lahiru Kumara
pitch and terms
Due to its short boundaries, Wankhede has always been a high-scoring venue, and has favored chasing teams, having won 24 of the 41 T20Is played here over the last two years. Something similar is expected to happen on Tuesday as well. It should be a pleasant evening with clear skies and a temperature around 20°C.
statistics and general knowledge
- Since the start of 2021, India have a 4-3 head-to-head record against Sri Lanka in T20Is.
- Chahal needs four wickets to become the highest wicket-taker for India in the format. Bhuvneshwar is currently on top with 90 wickets.
- This will be Kusal Mendis’ 50th T20I, making him the 13th Sri Lankan player to reach the milestone.
Hemant Brar is the Deputy Editor at ESPNcricinfo