Team India are set to lock horns with Sri Lanka in a white-ball series comprising of three ODIs and three T20Is with the series opener to be played on Sunday, July 18. The series was earlier scheduled to start from July 13, but was postponed after multiple COVID cases in the Lankan contingent. All the matches will be played in Colombo in a bio-secure environment. Both teams have different objectives from this series with the T20 World Cup coming up. This series will be a part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League. India are still in their early days in the competition, while Sri Lanka are placed even lower than teams like Ireland, Afghanistan and Netherlands in the list.
Sri Lanka vs India 2021, 1st ODI Preview
Is this a 'second string' India squad?
What's at stake in the series for key players?
— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) July 16, 2021
The BCCI has announced a 20-member squad with plenty of youngsters being given an opportunity. Several players have deserved their maiden India call-up after consistent performances in domestic and IPL cricket. The side will be led by Shikhar Dhawan with Rahul Dravid coaching the side. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be Dhawan’s deputy for the series.
What would your starting XI be? https://t.co/c27H7C3jsH
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) July 16, 2021
The six games will be an opportunity for each of the 20 members who have been selected for the squad. More so for the likes of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. ‘Kulcha’ has been off-color in recent times. Both of them are yet to deliver consistently since the 2019 ODI World Cup. This is almost the last chance for Kuldeep to make an impression and get himself reckoned in India’s T20 World Cup squad. Chahal too needs to come up with performances with the likes of Varun Chakravarthy and Rahul Chahar.
Selecting the best Indian XI from this talented list of Indian players will be a hard task for the Indian selectors. Rahul Dravid also hinted at the fact that it will be difficult to give an opportunity to all the players in the series. It will be interesting to see how many players get to play in the series.
Former Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga slammed the BCCI for sending in a second-string Indian squad which made a lot of noise in the Indian media. However, the Indian team management has not reacted to Ranatunga’s statements so far. However, former Indian cricketers did have things to say about the ‘unwanted’ comment from Ranatunga.
The Sri Lankan board named a 24-member squad with many of their key players missing. Angelo Mathews has opted out of the series due to personal reasons. Dinesh Chandinal is also not available and Kusal Perera is the latest to join the injury list and will miss the entire series. In the absence of these key players, the squad announced is a fairly inexperienced squad.
To add to this, the pay dispute between the players and the board and the recent changes in captains highlights the numerous problems that the side has been going through.
Dasun Shanka appointed as the captain of Sri Lanka in limited overs, 10th ODI captain in the last 4 years.
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) July 16, 2021
The side head into the series after losing an ODI and a T20I series against England recently. Though there were individual performances, they failed to play together as a team and win games for the side. They were whitewashed in the three-match ODI series and lost two games in the T20Is before the third game was abandoned due to rain.
The side has a tough job of turning their fortunes around against a formidable Indian squad. They need to come back to winning ways after their shambolic performance against England.
Head To Head
Of the 165 ODI matches played between these two nations, 91 have been won by India and Sri Lanka has managed to win only 56 games. Out of the 78 ODI series played in total, 32 have been won by India and Sri Lanka has managed to win only 16. Out of the remaining, three have been drawn.
Pitch & Weather Conditions
The pitch and weather conditions in Colombo will be more or less similar to what the conditions are in India. The R Premadasa stadium has hosted 131 ODIs so far with the team batting first winning 71 games while the team chasing winning 50 games. The pitches will be more conducive for batsmen with spinners having a more important role to play than pacers.
Shikhar Dhawan (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (Wicketkeeper), Sanju Samson (Wicketkeeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Vice-captain), Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya
Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Dhananjaya De Silva (Vice Captain), Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ashen Bandara, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Udara, Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dhananjaya, Shiran Fernando,Dhananjaya Lakshan, Ishan Jayaratne, Praveen Jayawickrema, Asitha Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana