After being knocked out of the T20 World Cup, the Indian cricket team will try to make a fresh start in the three T20 International series against New Zealand starting on Wednesday under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma and under the supervision of head coach Rahul Dravid. The Dravid and Rohit duo will have only 11 months to build a strong team in the shortest format before the next T20 World Cup. In the meantime, he has to make necessary changes and improvements in the team.
After the disappointment of the T20 World Cup in the UAE, India has been forced to look beyond Hardik Pandya in the fast bowling all-rounder. Pandya is unable to perform his all-round ability due to injury. Venkatesh Iyer, who has performed brilliantly in the IPL, is being looked at as an alternative to Hardik and the three matches against New Zealand will reveal whether he can be groomed as a fast bowling all-rounder. India can keep more ‘power hitters’ in the batting department and Venkatesh, who plays for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL, has openly displayed his ability to play long and big shots.
Avesh-Siraj in charge
Other players who have performed well in the IPL include Ruturaj Gaikwad, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan and Yuzvendra Chahal. The decision to drop Chahal from the T20 World Cup squad was controversial. Jasprit Bumrah has been rested for the series and India will look to find another fast bowler who can consistently bowl at 140 kmph or more. It was also seen in the UAE that extra-fast deliveries are beneficial and all eyes will be on Avesh and Mohammad Siraj. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was not at his best in UAE. He is given another chance to return to his old complexion.
Team full of openers
The team comprises five openers from the shorter formats and it will be challenging to get them in the middle order. Rohit and vice-captain KL Rahul can open the innings but with more options in the form of Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj ahead, India can also do some experimentation. Even Venkatesh has scored all his runs for KKR as an opener but he is ready to bat in the middle order.
Attention also to the Australian situation
Captain Rohit and Dravid would like to test the player’s ability keeping in mind the conditions in Australia. Australia will host the T20 World Cup next year. Suryakumar Yadav could not find his rhythm during the World Cup but he is a player whom India would like to build at number four, especially given the Australian conditions. Ravichandran Ashwin is likely to continue in the playing XI with Ravindra Jadeja being rested.
Captain Kane took rest
Kiwi team captain Kane Williamson has been rested for the T20I series so that he can freshen up for the Test series that follows. Fast bowler Tim Southee will lead the team in his absence. New Zealand, who thrashed India in the World Cup, reached Jaipur soon after losing to Australia in the final and did not get much chance to review their defeat. Head coach Gary Stead has already spoken about the challenges his team is facing, including regrouping after the disappointment of the World Cup final.
spectators will reach the stadium
The initial matches of IPL-14 this year were played in India, where spectators were allowed to enter the stadium. But due to the spread of Corona, the league was stopped midway. Later which was completed in UAE. Even the T20 World Cup to be held in India was organized in the UAE itself. Now after a long break, this will be the first international match to be played in India. There is no limit on the number of spectators in the stadium of Jaipur and in such a situation, the stadium with a capacity of 25,000 spectators is expected to be packed. However, the condition of vaccination has been kept for the spectators. An unvaccinated person will be allowed to enter the stadium only after showing a negative report of RT-PCR test.
Probable Playing XI
India: Rohit Sharma (capt), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Venkatesh Iyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Todd Astle, Tim Seifert, Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee (capt), Adam Milne