After a successful tour to South Africa, team India is on its way back to the subcontinent before they depart again for Sri Lanka to face the hosts and Bangladesh in a T20I tri-series. The 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20I Tri-Series is organized to celebrate Sri Lanka’s 70 years of independence and will include a total of 7 matches including the final. On that note, let’s look at India’s predicted XI that are expected to storm the 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20I Tri-Series.
BCCI has decided to send a second string side to the island nation, in order to provide adequate rest to some of the regular stars who had an enormous load on them during the recently concluded South African series. In all 6 senior players have been rested, including captain Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav.
India play their first match against Sri Lanka on 6th March and it will be very interesting to see what team captain Rohit Sharma decides to go with for the opening match of the 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20I Tri-Series.
India’s predicted XI for 2018 Nidahas Trophy opener:
Rohit Sharma surprisingly found himself leading the team in the last T20 match against South Africa in regular captain Kohli’s absence. The 30-year-old opener didn’t have the best of times in the rainbow nation scoring just 202 runs in the limited overs format. However, the Mumbai Indians’ captain is another beast on sub-continent pitches and he will be hoping to get some big runs under his belt in this 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20I Tri-Series in order to raise his confidence which would have seriously dented over the past one month.
Shikhar Dhawan was the highest run-scorer against South Africa in the T20 series and the left-hander was the only batsman apart for Kohli, who looked comfortable every time he went out to bat. With quite a few senior players rest for this T20I Tri-Series tour, Dhawan will have to shoulder most of the run-scoring responsibility from the top.
A veteran of the game, Suresh Raina made his long-awaited return to the national team recently and he looked in fine touch in the 3 innings he played but the pressure will definitely be higher in Sri Lanka (T20I Tri-Series) given his seniority in the squad and his experience of playing in those conditions so many times before in his career.
Rishabh Pant is one of the most exciting talents in Indian cricket right now and even though he is a wicket-keeper batsman, the team will most probably start with him in the capacity of a pure batsman. He is a hugely destructive batsman once he gets in the flow and this series could tell us a lot about him and his international pedigree.
Manish Pandey has had a roller coaster of a career and is never far away from criticism on days that he doesn’t perform. But that wasn’t the case in 3 matches T20 series against South Africa as the 28-year-old finished as India’s second highest run-getter with 121 runs at an excellent strike-rate of 142.35.
With Pant being used a pure batsman, it will be Karthik who will dawn the wicket-keeping gloves and shoulder the responsibility of finishing the innings on a strong note from lower down the order in the 2018 Nidahas Trophy. Karthik has always been in and out of the team and a regular run in this tour could provide him a chance to stamp his claim on that second wicket-keeper spot in the squad for the 2019 World Cup.
Even though Shardul Thakur just played 3 matches on the South Africa tour – 1 ODI and 2 T20Is, the Chennai Super Kings bowler managed to pick 6 wickets in 3 appearances and he did everything the board could have asked from a player who is eager to keep his place in the squad for the future. He needs to utilise the 2018 Nidahas Trophy with the best possible performances.
Chahal had a night-mare T20 series against South Africa, which included a record spell of 64/0 in his 4 overs in the 2nd T20 match. However, the 27-year-old was the catalyst of India’s 50-over series win and remains countries first choice spinner in the limited-over format. With Kuldeep being rested, Chahal will have to be at the top of his game once more in the 2018 Nidahas Trophy.
After two disappointing outings against New Zealand and Sri Lanka, Siraj wasn’t picked for the South African tour, however, he will make a return to the Indian line-up for the first match against hosts Sri Lanka. The 23-year-old is an exciting young bowler who is just reaching the peak of his career and it is important for him to keep performing consistently in order to be in the reckoning for many challenging tours in the future, especially the 2018 Nidahas Trophy.
Although Sundar has only played a handful of matches in the IPL and made just 1 appearance for the Indian national team, there is no denying the talent the 18-year-old has. His excellent bowling performances in the past convinced RCB to fork out INR 3.2 crore to acquire his services in the recently held IPL auction. However, the 2018 Nidahas trophy will be his biggest challenge yet and if he can do well there, he will definitely join the other spinners like Chahal and Kuldeep in the bowling arsenal.
The most expensive Indian player in the IPL auction 2018 will be India’s frontline bowler in Sri Lanka and will carry the responsibility of leading this young bowling unit. The 26-year-old picked up 3 wickets in the 2 matches he played in South Africa but this time in 2018 Nidahas Trophy, he will have to at his best as he looks to emulate the likes of Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah.