After the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 debacle, India is all set to host New Zealand for a multi-format tour, starting with three T20Is. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday announced the Indian squad for the T20I series.
Senior India players, such as the likes of Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami have been rested for the series. Rohit Sharma has been announced as the skipper of the T20I team, with KL Rahul as his deputy. The team includes some new faces, such as the likes of Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, and Venkatesh Iyer.
India will be keen to put behind the World Cup failure and make a fresh start with a new T20 squad setup. It will be interesting to see the combination, India chooses to go in with for the series.
On that note, let’s take a look at India’s probable playing XI for the T20I series against New Zealand.
1. Rohit Sharma
The T20I series will be Rohit Sharma’s first assignment as a full-fledged T20 captain. He has led India in the past in Virat Kohli’s absence and was the vice-captain in this format before being promoted to skipper.
On the batting front, Rohit Sharma looked in good touch in the last three games for the Indian team in the T20 World Cup. He has an average of 33.12 in T20Is this year, scoring 265 runs in 8 games.
2. KL Rahul
KL Rahul is in dazzling form in the T20 format in the last few months. He was the leading run-scorer for the Punjab Kings in IPL 2021. After a couple of failures in the initial matches of the T20 World Cup, the opener bounced back to form, scoring three consecutive half-centuries.
In T20Is this year, KL Rahul has scored 209 runs in 9 matches, at an average of 26.12. The right-handed batter has been appointed as Rohit Sharma’s deputy in this series. He will be a key batter at the top of the order for India.
3. Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer last played a T20I in March this year against England, when he dislocated his shoulder and was ruled out from the series. He also missed the following, Indian Premier League tournament. However, the right-handed batter made a comeback during the second phase of IPL 2021.
Iyer scored 175 runs at an average of 35 in 8 matches for Delhi Capitals. He was selected as a stand-by for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, but could not make it to the 15-member squad. Shreyas Iyer will be determined to make an impact in this series.
4. Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav did not get a lot of opportunities to bat in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 for India. He missed the New Zealand match due to back spasms. Suryakumar scored 42 runs in three innings, remaining not out on a couple of occasions.
The right-handed batter averages 45.25 this year in T20Is, scoring 181 runs in 6 innings. He is a vital cog in the wheel for India in the batting line-up
5. Venkatesh Iyer
Venkatesh Iyer has received his maiden India call-up for the T20I series. He came to the limelight when he slammed 67 runs off 49 balls opening the batting for Kolkata Knight Riders in his first-ever IPL match this year in UAE. The left-hander is also a very handy bowler.
Iyer finished the season with 370 runs at an average of 41.11 and was one of the finds of IPL 2021. On the back of his performance, Iyer was selected as a net bowler in the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup. Venkatesh Iyer is likely to make his India debut in the New Zealand series.
6. Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant has not looked in the best of forms in the last few months. He had a decent IPL season, but a disappointing outing in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 for India. This year, in T20Is, Rishabh Pant averages 30, scoring 180 runs in 7 innings.
The left-handed batter has an important role to play in the T20I series against New Zealand. With not many finishers in the team, Rishabh Pant has to step up and take responsibility.
7. Axar Patel
Axar Patel performed impressively well in the Indian Premier League 2021 for the Delhi Capitals. He was the second leading wicket-taker, with 15 wickets at an average of 20.40.
The all-rounder was also very economical as he conceded runs at an economy rate of 6.65. Axar Patel provides an added cushion to the batting line-up, given his ability to hit sixes, lower down the order.
8. Yuzvendra Chahal
Yuzvendra Chahal has had an up and down journey so far this year. He performed well in Indian Premier League 2021 for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, taking 18 wickets, second-most for the franchise.
However, Chahal’s career hit a low when he was excluded from India’s 15-member squad for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021. Yuzvendra Chahal will be keen to prove himself once again in Indian colours.
9. Harshal Patel
Harshal Patel rose through the ranks in the Indian Premier League 2021 season. He earned the Purple Cap for his brilliant performance in the tournament. Harshal picked 32 wickets in 15 matches, at an average of 14.34, including a hattrick, and with 5/27 being his best figures.
The pacer received his maiden India call-up in this T20I series and is likely to make his debut. Harshal will be hoping to continue his dream form in International cricket as well.
10. Mohammed Siraj
Mohammed Siraj made his T20I debut back in 2017 against New Zealand. He has taken three T20I wickets for India since then in as many matches. In the absence of senior pacers, Siraj has been given an opportunity to lead the Indian pace attack.
Siraj had a disappointing IPL 2021 and will be hoping to turn the tide and make a strong comeback in the Indian team.
11. Avesh Khan
Avesh Khan was one of the rising stars of the Indian Premier League 2021 season. Bowling alongside Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje for the Delhi Capitals, Avesh carved a niche for himself. He was the second leading wicket-taker in the tournament, taking 24 wickets in 16 matches at an average of 18.75.
The right-arm pacer was part of the Indian contingent as a net bowler for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021. He will be keen to make an impact in the shortest format for India.