The pandemic has disrupted affairs all over the world, and cricket is no exception to it. The Indian cricket team, the English team and the Aussies have two teams playing in different countries. In May, the first-choice side which played the World Test Championship final and will be playing India vs England test series is in the UK.
At the same time, the limited-overs team, which is a combination of youth and experience, led by Shikhar Dhawan, is in Sri Lanka to play 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is. Here is the updated schedule of India's Tour of Srilanka:
Many players are on the periphery and will be eyeing a place on the first-choice side. It is key for them to impress the selectors and the team management. The Bharat Army takes a look at who those players can be from the deep Indian squad for Srilanka:
- Suryakumar Yadav:
Suryakumar Yadav was reckoning for a place in the Indian side for a long time before he was called up for the series against England. He scored a half-century in his maiden international series in the 4th T20I at Ahmedabad and announced his arrival on the international stage.
Suryakumar Yadav will be aiming to stamp his authority in the Indian T20I side and make himself a certainty in the team for the T20 World Cup. However, the middle-order has many alternatives, and there is a cut-throat competition for limited spots.
- Ishan Kishan
Like Suryakumar Yadav, his Mumbai Indians teammate Ishan Kishan had an impressive debut outing as an opener in the T20I series against the Eoin Morgan-led side. Kishan scored a half-century as an opener. But with stalwarts like Virat Kohli and Rohit keen on opening the batting at the ICC T20 World Cup, Ishan Kishan has to perform at an extraordinary level in Sri Lanka. Let's have a look at Ishan's performance against that of Sanju Samson in IPL since 2020:
The southpaw will have to wait for his chance to play at the top of the order, as Shikhar Dhawan has the option to pair up with Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad or Prithvi Shaw as the opener.
- Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav was an integral part of the Indian side from his debut in 2017 till the 2019 World Cup but posted that; the left-arm leg-spinner has struggled to keep his place in the Indian team. He didn’t feature in the IPL 2021 as the Kolkata Knight Riders preferred playing Varun Chakravarthy ahead of Kuldeep.
Kuldeep Yadav has been impressive with Yuzvendra Chahal throughout his career. But the duo hasn’t played together since the World Cup game against England. In Sri Lanka, the pitches might favour the spinners, and Kuldeep will be vying to get his place back in the side.
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been named as the deputy skipper of the Indian team to Sri Lanka. In all likelihood, the pacer will be in the squad for the T20 World Cup later this year. However, Bhuvi’s main concern in the recent past has been his fitness record. The SRH pacer is in and out of the side due to his injury issues.
After an impressive showing in the series against England earlier this year, Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be aiming to stamp his authority once again. The race for being a pacer in India’s side witnesses cut-throat competition with Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur, among others in the mix.
- Shikhar Dhawan
Last but not least is skipper Shikhar Dhawan. Dhawan wasn’t the first-choice opener in the series against England as Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul took precedence. The southpaw played the first two matches in Rohit’s absence but couldn’t deliver and lost his place.
With Virat Kohli interested in opening the batting, Dhawan has a task on his hands. He has impressed everyone in the IPL. He has scored at a strike rate of over 134 in each of the last 4 seasons. In the 2021 IPL, he scored 398 runs in 8 matches. Shikhar’s performance in the powerplay will be crucial to his hopes.