India’s T20I Squad for Three T20Is vs. England: Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja Rested

How different is India’s T20I squad for the three T20Is against Eoin Morgan and co., from the one which was picked for the three-ODI series? Answer to follow. 

England were expected to pose India a far greater challenge in the ODI series than they did in the five-Test series, which the visitors lost 4-0 after the draw in Rajkot. I had England as the favourites at the start of the three-ODI series purely because of their batting line-up’s new-found dynamism and India’s over-reliance on Virat Kohli. But a blend of good batting pitches, the one-dimensional nature of England’s bowling attack and some high-class batting from India, keeps the Poms win-less in one-day contests in India since 1984-85.

From the Poms’ perspective, though, the win in the third and final ODI in Kolkata and the manner of it, in particular, will give them the belief that India can be beaten—which might seem rudimentary, but England lost the Pune and Cuttack one-dayers after getting themselves into enviable positions and their confidence must have taken a hit, as Morgan himself admitted in the post-match presentation in Kolkata. The three-T20I series should provide a very engrossing contest as well, between teams who are loaded with big hitters and exciting young players.

Talking about big hitters and exciting young players, the Indian squad for the T20I series against England, has a fair few players who guarantee entertainment over the next 10 days.

India’s T20I Squad for T20Is vs. England

Precisely, India’s T20I squad for the three-T20I series against England has six changes in personnel from the 15-man ODI squad and the table below provides you clarity:

Players in the Indian ODI Squad Their Replacements for T20Is
Shikhar Dhawan Mandeep Singh
Kedar Jadhav Rishabh Pant
Ravichandran Ashwin Parvez Rasool
Ajinkya Rahane Suresh Raina
Umesh Yadav Ashish Nehra
Ravindra Jadeja Yuzvendra Chahal

India’s T20I Squad in full: Virat Kohli (C), KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin (Parvez Rasool), Ravindra Jadeja (Amit Mishra), Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, and Yuzvendra Chahal. 

Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja (highlighted above), who didn’t enjoy a great ODI series against England, have been rested for the T20Is vs. England. So, in their places, Amit Mishra, who was part of India’s ODI squad for the three ODIs vs. England, has been retained and Jammu and Kashmir off-spinner Parvez Rasool has been drafted into India’s 15-man T20I squad.

Who is Rishabh Pant, the new face in the Indian T20I Squad?

A Delhi teenage batsman, Pant has enjoyed a meteoric rise since 2015, the year in which he made his Ranji Trophy debut for Delhi. Just four months after, in February 2016, Pant landed a lucrative IPL contract with Delhi Daredevils (DD), who bought the hard-hitting left-hander at last year’s auction for a whopping 1.9 crore rupees, while he was playing for the Indian colts in the U-19 World Cup 2016 in Bangladesh.

India lost the final of the ICC U-19 World Cup 2016 to West Indies, but Pant’s season wasn’t finished yet. He returned to India and represented DD in IPL 2016, accruing 198 runs in 10 IPL matches. Now, the 19-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman has been picked in the Indian T20I squad for the series against England, and the questions are, will Pant feature in India’s playing XI and what role could he play?

Pant is one of the two new faces in the Indian T20I squad, which has the likes of Mandeep, Raina, Nehra, and Chahal returning to the national side after playing in one or the other T20I series in 2016: Mandeep and Chahal played the ODI and T20I series against Zimbabwe in June 2016; Nehra was India’s pace spearhead at the ICC World Twenty20 2016 and played in every one of the preparatory series in the lead-up to the biennial tournament, and Raina too played the T20I series in Australia, against Srilanka in India, the Asia Cup 2016, and the WT20 2016.

The 27-year-old Rasool, who last played for India in an ODI in 2014 against Bangladesh, has been the other fresh addition to the Indian T20I squad for the three-T20I series vs. England.

Now, the ODI series against England was the final rehearsal before the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and an audition for quite a few Indian players like Dhawan, Rahane and Yuvraj. But the same cannot be said about the T20I series which begins on the Republic Day (January 26th, 2017), despite it being a proper, three-match T20I series. The Indian squad for the eighth edition of the ICC Champions Trophy is pretty much known and unless the players who are likely to feature in India’s Champions Trophy title defence suffer injuries, there are unlikely to be many places up for grabs.

So, India, who do not play many T20Is in 2017, can actually play carefree cricket and provide opportunities for the players who didn’t play the ODI series, like Pandey.

From which viewpoint, this is the playing XI I would pick for the T20Is against England: Kohli (C), Pant, Mandeep, Yuvraj, Dhoni (WK), Pandey, Pandya, Bhuvneshwar, Mishra, Bumrah, and Nehra.

India’s playing XI for the T20Is vs. England

Pant’s highest IPL score of 69 came when he opened for the Daredevils in IPL 2016, and looking at India’s T20I squad too, Pant does not have a better position/role in the side than opening the innings.

Rahul failed with the bat in all three ODIs against England and like I said, the Indian think tank should provide opportunities to the likes of Mandeep and Pandey. Rahul finds himself in a three-way competition which includes Dhawan and Rahane, to be Rohit Sharma’s opening partner at the ICC Champions Trophy in June 2017, but given the amount of cricket he has played in the last one year, a little break here will help.

Nos. 3, 4 and 5 in India’s batting line-up are reserved for the big three, Kohli, Yuvraj and Dhoni, and I don’t see a change in the positions of this trio from the ODI series.

Pandey will be my No. 6 for India in the upcoming T20Is against England. Yes, it’s too low a position for the Karnataka and Kolkata Knight Riders batsman, who has tended to bat at No. 4, but in this Indian side and in this batting line-up, No. 6 is the only place available to Pandey and where the team management can accommodate him.

Hardik Pandya came into the Indian side as a T20 specialist ahead of last year’s WT20, but has now developed into a valuable all-rounder for India in limited-overs cricket. At No. 7, India does not have a better player than Pandya.

Nos. 8 and 9, which were reserved for Jadeja and Ashwin, will now be taken by Bhuvneshwar and Mishra, who actually didn’t deserve to be dropped for all three ODIs against England, considering he picked 15 wickets in India’s last ODI series against New Zealand. In a way, therefore, Mishra gets another deserved opportunity to play for his country, albeit he is liable to be dropped more often than not, while Ashwin and Jadeja are in the squad.

The resting of Jadeja means that Bumrah will likely play as the third seamer in the side, with Nehra completing the remaining place in India’s probable playing XI for the three T20Is vs. England.

Do you agree with our choice of India’s playing XI for the T20I series vs. England? Tell us using the comments section below.

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