Fresh from mauling Australia in the five-match ODI series, Virat Kohli’s men will now be looking forward to continuing their marauding spree in the T20I series as well. T20I’s have been one aspect of the game where India have always had the number of Australia. With nine wins and just four losses over the Kangaroos, India mainly have one individual to thank for such a strong record – Virat Kohli.
Kohli has always taken his game to the next level against his favourite T20I opposition, and the last time these two teams met in the particular format; it was the 2016 World T20 encounter at Mohali, where Kohli stole the show with an excellent unbeaten knock of 82.
Australia will surely come hard at India, given they are bound to play with a sense of freedom now. It will be imperative for the men in blue to select their best XI on the field, and below we go through the predicted Indian XI for the first T20I.
- Rohit Sharma:
His ton at Nagpur was awe-inspiring as he oozed class with every stroke. Known to be someone who relishes batting against the Australians, the flat deck of Ranchi will offer Sharma ample of opportunities to further showcase his steel as an opener.
- Shikhar Dhawan:
Now that Dhawan is back for India, the regular T20 opening combination will give the side a lot of balance. It was right at this very ground in 2016 when Dhawan scored his maiden T20I fifty against Sri Lanka and was also named the Man of the Match. The southpaw will be eager to make a daunting comeback in this form of the game.
- Virat Kohli (c):
As mentioned earlier, Kohli’s numbers against Australia in the shortest form of the game are just breathtaking. The Indian captain has scored four half-centuries in his previous four outings against his favourite opposition, and if signs are anything to go by, the fifth one is well on its way.
- Manish Pandey:
Ideally, Pandey is best suited for the side at number three considering he has batted at that position in the IPL for years now. But given the mixture of this side, he will have to drop down at number four and play in the middle order. While some people feel that KL Rahul needs to be back at number four in T20’s, Pandey will make the cut given his impressive performance against Sri Lanka in the one-off T20I.
- MS Dhoni (wk):
Any number Dhoni bats below five will be entirely criminal from the team’s point of view as Dhoni needs to face the maximum deliveries for India to do well with the bat. Being an aggressive keeper batsman, Dhoni precisely knows what is demanded from him in the team, and his role makes for an exciting viewing indeed.
- Kedar Jadhav:
The selectors sprung up a surprise when it was realised that Jadhav was persisted for the series ahead of someone as seasoned as Suresh Raina. It is now up to the Maharashtra batsman to prove his finishing abilities for the team and justify his selection.
- Hardik Pandya:
Undoubtedly the X-factor of this team, Pandya remains an absolute match-winner for the men in blue. The Man of the Series in ODI’s, Pandya will now look to carry on his excellent work in the shortest form of the game. He makes for an exciting prospect in this format of the game.
- Kuldeep Yadav:
The wrist spinner has just been a revelation for India ever since he burst onto the scene and remains a game changer with his wicket taking abilities. Throughout the ODI series, he troubled the likes of Steven Smith and David Warner, and in all, remains India’s best bet to pick wickets.
- Yuzvendra Chahal:
Chahal is a complete bowler in T20I’s and not too long ago against England; he picked up six wickets in a game at Bangalore to emerge in the record books. Chahal is an extremely large hearted customer with the ball who isn’t afraid to pitch it up to the batsmen. It is this ability and quality which makes him a genuine wicket-taker.
- Jasprit Bumrah:
Without second thoughts the best death bowler at present, Bumrah is a mighty fine pacer, who can deliver at all stages of the game. T20’s have always been Bumrah’s main strength and a field that has witnessed his masterclass in the recent past.
- Ashish Nehra:
The evergreen Nehraji is set to make yet another comeback for the men in blue after he last represented the side against England earlier this year. At 38, it’s fair to say that Nehra is on the evening of his career, but he still seems to have that X factor within him to represent the team. It will surely make for compelling viewing to watch him back in action.