IND vs SL: 3 Biggest Challenges For Hardik Pandya
Team India will look to put the disappointments and heartbreaks of 2022 behind them and start the new year afresh with a young squad. They have a stiff task at hand though: India host the Asia Cup winners, Sri Lanka, for 3 T20Is starting January 3, followed by 3 ODIs.
India’s squad for Sri Lanka T20Is: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav (VC), Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, Mukesh Kumar.
Here are 3 challenges that are in front of Team India and ones which the fans will keenly observe:
The Hasaranga and Theekshana threat
In the T20I series, Indian batters will come up against two of the best T20 spinners in the world, Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana, both of whom have a mystery element to their bowling. The inexperienced Indian batters will be tested against two of the best in the business.
Since the start of 2021, Hasaranga is the leading T20I wicket-taker in the world, with 70 wickets in only 39 T20Is at a jaw-dropping average of only 13. Theekshana, with 31 wickets in 30 T20Is, has kept things tight with an economy of 6.56 - the fact that he generally bowls in the powerplay as well, this economy of terrific.
Will the young top-order bat aggressively?
One of the most ailing elements of Team India in T20Is in recent years has been the conservative, and dig-in-first-and-explode-later approach of India’s top three. Rohit, Kohli, and Rahul/Dhawan have all been part of this problem, and it has cost them heavily in the last three T20 World Cups.
In this series, India are likely to have a top-order of Ishan Kishan, Gaikwad/Gill, and Hooda before power-hitters Suryakumar and Pandya come in. Kishan is known to be an explosive opener and Hooda has been aggressive since last year, but Gaikwad/Gill, in order to set the platform for themselves, have looked to anchor the innings often. India will want them too to fire all guns cylinders and keep up with the new T20 style.
Hardik Pandya has to identify his players
It is rumored heavily that Hardik Pandya will be the next T20I captain, though the board officially declares it or not, we won’t find out soon. Nonetheless, as India put the 2024 T20 WC in focus, they will have to convert their wrongs to rights from the past 2-3 years.
Chopping and changing regularly of players, and not giving the players a long, consistent rope is what India have not been able to do in recent years. Pandya is known to be a captain who wants to have consistency in the sides he plays, and gives his players ample of time to prove themselves before thinking of dropping them. This series will be the start of that, and fans will keenly observe the all-rounder in the captaincy hat.