Following their impressive 4-1 victory against Australia, Team India is ready for their next T20I challenge in South Africa. Led by Suryakumar Yadav, the team will compete in three T20Is, commencing with the first match in Durban on Sunday, December 10.
The squad has seen some changes, with players like Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav stepping in for Axar Patel, Shivam Dube, and Avesh Khan.
As India welcomes back key players to the squad, they face decisions regarding their playing XI for the upcoming series opener, having made changes in the last series.
India’s team for the T20I series vs South Africa: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav (c), Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja (vc), Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Ishan Kishan (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Deepak Chahar.
Three selection challenges for the first T20I against South Africa:
#1 Jitesh Sharma vs Ishan Kishan
Which wicketkeeper will India prioritize in the upcoming matches against South Africa?
Ishan Kishan scored consecutive fifties in the first two T20Is against Australia but faced a duck in the third match. Jitesh Sharma replaced him in the last two games, delivering noteworthy performances.
Despite selectors’ confidence in Kishan, his optimal role may be affected by Shreyas Iyer’s presence, potentially leading to Jitesh being preferred due to his suitability at No. 5 in the batting order.
#2 Kuldeep Yadav vs Ravi Bishnoi
Ravi Bishnoi has made an impressive start to his T20I career, but the competition with Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav has limited his consistent playing time. With Chahal out of favor, Bishnoi is now in contention with Kuldeep for the role of the team’s primary spinner in T20Is.
Despite Bishnoi’s standout performance against Australia, where he earned the Player of the Series with nine wickets, the decision is challenging as Kuldeep has excelled in white-ball cricket over the past two years.
The return of Hardik Pandya might allow for both to play together, but currently, India faces the dilemma of choosing between them.
#3 Shubman Gill vs Yashasvi Jaiswal vs Ruturaj Gaikwad
India has an abundance of options at the top order, even without Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Ishan Kishan set to open against South Africa.
Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ruturaj Gaikwad opened against Australia, but Shubman Gill, despite limited T20I experience, is likely to be selected, given his consistent performance across formats.
While there’s a chance India may stick with Jaiswal and Gaikwad, the ideal choice would be to open with Jaiswal and Gill, forming a strong pairing at the top.