Nidahas Trophy 2018, India vs Sri Lanka: Chance For Youngsters To Make A Mark
Rohit Sharma is leading a second-string Indian team for the T20I tri-series, which also involves Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
India and Sri Lanka being in action against each other had become such a repetitive event in the recent past that any new series was unlikely to generate that much interest. Now they will meet again, in the Nidahas Trophy 2018 Twenty20 tri-series, beginning in Colombo on Tuesday. The hosts will meet an Indian team led by Rohit Sharma. The side is without skipper Virat Kohli and the veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni, so some youngsters will get a chance to make a name for themselves. But cricket in India rotates largely around those two names - Kohli and Dhoni - so don't be too surprised if the level of attention back home isn't high.
For the youngsters chosen in the side, the aim would be to stay on the selectors' radar for next year's World Cup.
Having faced Sri Lanka in 18 international matches this season (6 Tests, 8 ODIs and 4 T20 Internationals) on home and away basis, another face-off can only add to the players as well as viewers' fatigue due to lack of context.
Bangladesh is the third team in this series and though the sprightly bunch is known to add excitement, the series itself is not exactly an anticipated event after a rather exhausting trip to South Africa.
However, for a bunch of youngsters, who will get to wear the India blues with as many as six top players being rested, would consider this a god-sent opportunity.
Even though this is a T20 tournament, a good performance will keep the national selection committee interested for those limited batting slots in the middle-order and perhaps the reserve pacers.
On a personal front, Rohit will be itching to get back to form after a poor South Africa tour where he managed only a single hundred in the one-dayers.
In the familiar territory of Premadasa Stadium, Rohit will love to come out all guns blazing in the company of Shikhar Dhawan.
Suresh Raina is slowly getting back into the groove at No.3. The Lankan pitches and the pace trio of Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera and Dasun Shanaka are not expected to pose too many problems to the stylish left-hander, who was out of the side for a year owing to fitness and form-related issues.
It will be interesting to see if India opt for an extra pacer or an all-rounder. In case the team wants an extra pacer then Siraj will come in or else Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar. If the need of the hour is an extra spinner, then Axar Patel is the option at hand.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan (vice-capt), KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammad Siraj, Rishabh Pant.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Suranga Lakmal (vice-capt), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Janith Perera, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Amila Aponso, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Dhananjaya De Silva.
Match starts at 7 pm (IST).
(With PTI Inputs)