Rishabh Pant’s roaring form has grabbed the imagination of the country in the past few days.
Cricketing legends from Ganguly to Mathew Vaughan have lavished praise on the young batsman’s mentality and refreshingly fearless approach.
No wonder, he is being talked about as the new ‘Sehwag’ and looks an essential part of India’s playing XI in every format.
The first casualty of this could be none other than KL Rahul.
Rahul, who was the first choice to be the wicket-keeper for the T20 series against England finds his place under threat.
Rahul had done a great job both behind and in front of the stumps in IPL 2020 is unlikely to don the wicket keeper gloves.
As a result, it might be hard fo him to make it to the final eleven.
Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are a settled white ball opening pair and we don’t expect this combination to be disturbed.
Fact is, Dhawan is in cracking form and even smashed a 150 plus score in the Vijay Hazare Trophy for Delhi.
Skipper Kohli will come in at No. 3. At No. 4, India has 2 solid contenders in Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer, both of whom are capable of going for the big hits from the first ball itself.
The tussle between Surya Yadav and Iyer will be interesting to watch.
Surya is the underdog who powered Mumbai Indians to the IPL title last year. Shreyas is probably a more well-rounded batsman with the ability to shift gears but slightly less consistent, compared to Yadav.
This is one aspect where KL Rahul seems to lag behind.
No. 5 and No. 6 could be filled in by Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant, cricketers with the X factor, who are capable of changing the complexion of the game with their explosive unpredictability.
Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar and Axar Patel are the three spinners expected to start on the slowish Ahmedabad track.
The pace bowling cupboard is also brimming with riches. Bhuvi, one of India’s finest seam bowlers is back after a long lay off. Deepak Chahar is also a fine out swing bowler, along with Shardul Thakur who must be full of confidence after his exploits in Australia.
India Playing XI 1st T20 : Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Rahul Tewatia, T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur.