After the conclusion of the Indian Premier League 2022 season, the focus now shifts back to international cricket. Team India will host the South African cricket team for a T20 International series, starting from June 9.
The first of the five T20Is will take place at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi. The Board of Control for Cricket in India recently announced an 18-member squad for the series. Regular skipper Rohit Sharma and other senior players like Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Shami have been rested for the series.
Opening batter and vice-captain KL Rahul has been named as the skipper. With the ICC T20 World Cup around the corner, the youngsters in the team will be keen to make an impact. It will be interesting to see the combination that the Indian team goes in with, in seniors’ absence.
On that note, let’s take a look at India’s predicted playing XI for the T20I series against South Africa starting from June 9.
India’s predicted playing XI for the T20I series against South Africa
Openers: KL Rahul (C) and Ruturaj Gaikwad
Senior batter KL Rahul will be leading the Indian Team in the upcoming five-match T20I series against South Africa. He will be hoping to continue his good form, from the Indian Premier League. The right-hander was the second leading run-scorer with an average of 51.33. He slammed two centuries and four fifties in the season.
On the other hand, Ruturaj Gaikwad started off the season on a disastrous note, getting out on a duck in the first game. He could not perform up to the expectations in the first half. However, picked up pace in the second and finished the IPL season with 368 runs. In the South Africa series, Gaikwad needs to make the opportunity count in Indian colors.
Middle Order: Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant (wk)
Shreyas Iyer is likely to play at number three for India in the T20I series against South Africa. He is coming on the back of a decent Indian Premier League 2022 season, scoring 401 runs. The right-hander also has a good record for India at number three in T20Is, with three fifties in eight innings.
Along with him, Dinesh Karthik, who had a brilliant run in the IPL, will play in the middle order. Karthik proved to be a match-winner for the Royal Challengers Bangalore this season. He has earned a comeback call on the basis of his recent performance and will be keen to replicate it for India.
Rishabh Pant will take up the wicket-keeping duties for India this series. He could not perform consistently for the Delhi Capitals this season. However, he is someone who has the ability to turn the match on its head. With senior pros absent, Pant needs to step up for the team.
All-rounders: Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel
All-rounder Hardik Pandya put up a brilliant show in the Indian Premier League 2022 season with the bat. He was the leading run-scorer for his team, averaging 44.27 in the season. His 3/17 in the finals paved the way for Gujarat Titan’s IPL 2022 title win.
Along with Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel is likely to be the second all-rounder. Axar did not have a great outing in the Indian Premier League 2022 season with the ball. He managed only six wickets. However, with the bat, Axar was decent, scoring 182 runs, with a strike rate of 151.66.
Bowlers: Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Yuzvendra Chahal will be the lead spinner for India in the T20I series. He is coming on the back of a stellar performance in the IPL. Chahal was the Purple Cap winner, with 27 wickets at an average of 19.51 and an economy rate of 7.75.
In the pace department, Bhuvneshwar Kumar will take up the charge. He is likely to be supported by Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh in the playing XI. The trio had a good Indian Premier League 2022 season. They will be key to India’s performance, with their brilliant death bowling skills.