IND vs SL: 3 Indian Players Who Might Remain On The Bench In The T20I Series
It has not yet been an official confirmation that some of the senior players are dropped from India’s T20I team, but the general feeling among the fans is that the board wants to have Hardik Pandya as their new full-time T20I captain and build the team with fresh faces for the 2024 T20 World Cup.
That starts this week as India host Sri Lanka for 3 T20Is, starting January 3, to be played in Mumbai, Pune, and Rajkot. A number of players who were part of the T20 WC in Australia are not part of this squad to take on Sri Lanka.
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.
While India and Pandya will look to use these 3 T20Is as an opportunity to give the players some game time and decide among them who to take forward, it is entirely possible that a few players may not get a chance in any of the 3 matches because the skipper Pandya also believes in continuity and assurance to his team members.
Here are 3 players who may not play any match in the T20I series against Sri Lanka:
24-year-old pacer Shivam Mavi may be young and uncapped, but he has plenty of experience of T20 cricket: Mavi has featured in 32 IPL matches for KKR out of the total 46 T20 games he’s played so far. The Uttar Pradesh fast bowler has plenty of pace - though not close to that of Umran Malik - but Mavi can also swing the ball, and hurry batters with bounce.
However, this is Mavi’s maiden India call-up, and with Harshal Patel, Arshdeep, and Umran Malik in the squad, plus Hardik Pandya acting as the fourth seamer, Mavi would have to wait beyond this series for an India cap.
Since Umran and Harshal are ahead in the pecking order, and India will want them to play as many T20Is as possible, Mavi is unlikely to get a chance here, even if India lead the series 2-0.
Mukesh Kumar, the 29-year-old Bihar-born pacer who plays domestic cricket for Bengal, had a dream payday at the IPL 2023 auction as Delhi Capitals bought him for INR 5.5 crore. And soon, he was named in this squad. Mukesh has a decent record in T20s for Bengal: 25 wickets in 23 matches at 23 and 7.2 economy.
Similar to the case of Mavi, Mukesh Kumar, for whom this is the first time call-up to India’s T20I squad, is unlikely to get his India cap in this series due to the presence of three pacers who are ahead of him in the pecking order.
India’s top 6 for the start of the series seems set: Kishan, Gill/Gaikwad, Hooda, Suryakumar, Hardik Pandya, and Sanju Samson, followed by one or two spinning all-rounders in Sundar and Axar.
As mentioned above, Hardik Pandya as a captain wants his players to know that they will get a long rope under his captaincy - as the saying goes, ‘give them one more game to fail than one less - and Pandya, as shown in his captaincy in the IPL and for India so far, believes heavily in having a settled line-up.
This would make Rahul Tripathi remain on the bench for the entire series, as he did in his first tour with India, to Ireland last year. Despite’s Tripathi’s brilliant form - and intent - in the IPL and domestic cricket, the Maharashtra batter hasn’t been able to break into India’s T20I XI yet, even with a second-string squad.