India captain Rohit Sharma on Monday said that India cricket team are not favorites to win the Nidahas Trophy starting Tuesday featuring Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as the other two teams. The stand-in captain for the Twenty20 tri-series believes that the shortest format of the game is unpredictable and the favourites tag can't be used for India. "We won't label ourselves as favourites. The T20 format is unpredictable and you got to be on the money at all times. Both our oppositions are strong and we look forward to a good contest," Rohit said ahead of the first match against Sri Lanka.
A number of senior team members and established stars are missing from the 15-member India squad. Selectors opted to rest the star pair of Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the short-format series and instead experiment with fresh faces. Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who has just two T20 international appearances, and rookie paceman Mohammed Siraj, 23, have being given the opportunity to gain international experience.
"We are happy to be here and expect to play some good cricket in the Nidahas Trophy," Rohit said.
While Rohit will lead the Indian side in the 13-day tournament, Shikhar Dhawan has been named vice-captain of the Indian side with BCCI, stating in a press release, that the team was picked keeping in my the workload and upcoming schedule.
"It is an honour for me to lead the side and it is going to be no different in this series. I am excited to see how this young team performs," the 30-year-old said.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav and all-rounder Hardik Pandya too have been rested while Deepak Hooda and Washington Sundar earned a call-up to the Indian side. Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar has also been included in the India squad.
The tournament has been organised in order to mark the 70th anniversary of Sri Lanka's independence. The matches will be played under lights at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
The tournament, Nidahas Trophy, will follow a round-robin format with all the three teams playing each other twice, and the top two progressing to the March 18 final.
The tournament will be telecast in India by DSPORT, a sports channel by Discovery Communications.
Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan (vice-captain), 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 (wk)
March 6: Sri Lanka v India
March 8: Bangladesh v India
March 10: Sri Lanka v Bangladesh
March 12: India v Sri Lanka
March 14: India v Bangladesh
March 16: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka
March 18: Final