On Friday (12th March) evening, the hosts India will face the visitors England in the first game of the five-match T20I series at Narendra Modi Stadium (Motera, Ahmedabad).
It will be India’s first limited-overs international match in this calendar year. So, India will try their best to begin this new year in a strong way.
India vs England 2021, 1st T20I: India’s Predicted XI
Vice-captain Rohit Sharma last time played a T20I match in February 2020 during their New Zealand tour. But in the recently concluded home Test series against England, Rohit batted superbly as an opener by scoring 345 runs in seven innings, including one big century and one half-century. India want a solid start from this right-handed batsman.
KL Rahul is now the regular player in limited-overs cricket who can play versatile roles efficiently, like opening, top-order batting, middle-order batting, wicket-keeping etc. With the growth of his experience level, Rahul is now becoming a very crucial cricket of this national team, who is currently the 3rd-ranked T20I batsman.
Virat Kohli (C)
Indian captain Virat Kohli is in good form with the bat, but the fans and experts want to see his unshakable consistency in the performance, which has been slightly damaged at the present moment. But Kohli’s present form is enough to make a strong impact for the hosts in this T20I series.
Shreyas Iyer has already impressed in his early days of international cricket. However, in the last tour in Australia, he struggled in both the limited-overs series. But in the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy, he was in brilliant form as he smashed two consecutive centuries. The Indian team management wants to see this performance in this T20I series.
Many experts believe Suryakumar Yadav deserves to serve for the Indian team in the T20I format due to his recent successful years in domestic limited-overs cricket as well as IPL. If he gets an opportunity to play in this forthcoming match, it will be his very first international match for this 30-year-old cricketer.
Rishabh Pant (wk)
Wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant is now improving in both the batting and wicketkeeping aspects. He is now growing up as a crucial member of the national team. As KL Rahul is also in the squad, it can be interesting to see who will keep the wicket if Pant returns to the T20I playing XI after more than a year as he last played a T20I match in January 2020.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya was in the recently concluded home Test squad against England but didn’t play a single game. While he last played professional matches during the limited-overs series in the last Australia tour, Hardik was in superb form with the bat in both formats. While he was India’s leading run-scorer in the ODI series of that Australia tour with the help of two 90s, he also scored 78 runs in three games of the T20I series of that tour, including one crucial match-winning knock of 42 not out off just 22 balls.
It will be also interesting to see where he bowls during this T20I series as he recently didn’t bowl much due to his recent injuries.
The right-arm pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar hasn’t played an international game since December 2019. While another injury forced him to miss out on most of the IPL 2020, he featured in the recent limited-overs domestic cricket matches. The right-arm pacer is tried hard to come back in his form.
Recently, Washington Sundar has highly impressed with his batting in Test cricket, both in the Australia tour and in the home Test series against England. But, in T20 cricket, Sundar majorly plays the off-spinner role. He is very useful in the powerplay as the off-spinner is very economical. Now, the 21-year-old needs to improve his wicket-taking skills.
The right-arm pacer Deepak Chahar also faced some tough injuries in recent years which put some breaks in his cricket journey. During the last Australia tour, he made appearances during the T20I series, where he only managed to pick up one wicket. In the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, he was not regular among the wicket-takers. Deepak Chahar will now have to prove himself again by improving his performances.
The leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took 4 wickets in three matches during the last Australia tour last December. Then he featured in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy, where his performances were in ok category.