Indian cricket team will travel to Sri Lanka to take on the home side and Bangladesh in a T20 tri-series to celebrate the 70 years of Sri Lankan independence. The 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20I Tri-Series will see the 3 teams – Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India – playing a total of 6 league games before the final match. All the 7 matches will be played at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Although the squads are yet to be formally announced, it is believed some senior players including Kohli, Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar will be rested for the tournament after an exhausting two-month long tour of South Africa.
Here are the 5 players that you should watch out for in the 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20I Tri-Series:
With MS Dhoni in the final few years of his career, Team India and the board will need to start finding the man who can take over from the former Indian captain behind the stumps. Rishabh Pant seems the most viable and exciting option for the team but in order to give him the confidence to play with his aggressive attacking style, the 20-year-old wicket-keeper batsman needs to be given game time. And in the 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20I Tri-Series, Pant will get that in plenty.
With MSD most likely to be rested for the Sri Lankan, Pant will take over the glove duty from the legend and give that he recently scored the second fastest T20 century, just goes to show the kind of form the Delhi Daredevils player is in. He will definitely be someone you should keep your eyes on.
There is no doubting the fact that the Sri Lankan cricket team have struggled hugely over the past couple of years, with their recent tragic tour of India being one of the prime examples. However, one of the biggest positives for them over this time period has been the growth and performance of Niroshan Dickwella, who is a top-order wicket-keeper batsman and appears to be the latest in this amazing ‘keeper-batsmen lineage that Sri Lanka have had over the years.
The 24-year-old Dickwella is a hugely destructive batsman in the T20 format and carries the ability to change the flow of the match single-handedly. If he survives the first few overs then he could prove to be very dangerous for the opposition in the 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20I Tri-Series.
Not long back was the cricket experts seeing Mayank Agarwal as a future Team India star. However, ever since his superb performance in the 2010 Under-19 World Cup, the Bangalore batsman has struggled for consistency and that has been one of the reasons why the Indian jersey has eluded him.
But the tide seems to be turning around for Mayank. He was the top-scorer in India’s first-class cricket – 2017-2018 Ranji season and even had a superb Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The time might be perfect now to give the 27-year-old a run of few games in the 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20I Tri-Series, to see how he performs on the international and whether he has the confidence to stick through the intense scrutiny and pressure.
The most successful batsman in the history of Bangladesh cricket, Tamim Iqbal looks all set to make a return to the national team following an injury lay-off which led to him missing the matches against Sri Lanka in Dhaka in February. The swashbuckling opener will be the biggest threat to the opposition right at the top order, specially India. Getting him early would hand the opposition a huge head-start in the matches of the 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20I Tri-Series.
Tamim is currently playing in the Pakistan Super League with the Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai, which should give him the adequate match practice before the all-important tri-series. With experienced players like Tamim in the squad, it could be said that Bangladesh enter this tournament as the second favourites.
Currently the 8th best bowler in the world in T20 cricket, Mustafizur is Bangladesh’s lead bowler in T20 matches. The 22-year-old has had a very impressive career till now and has led the bowling contingent superbly well. His recent performances clearly indicate that he is top form right now and will prove to be a very difficult prospect for the Indian and Sri Lankan batsman. His four overs will mostly be focussed on picking up wickets, thus breaking the flow of runs.
Mustafizur has been very impressive during his IPL stint with the Sunrisers Hyderabad over the past two years in India’s T20 league, and that is why it wasn’t surprising to see Mumbai Indians spending around 2.2 crores on getting the Bangladeshi international in the their squad for the upcoming 11th season of Indian Premier League.