Team India is all set to kickstart their all-important preparations for the upcoming T20 World Cup as they face Australia in the three-match T20I series starting from Tuesday. India have announced the 15-man squad for the mega ICC event but they are yet to finalise their playing XI for that. The upcoming series against Australia and South Africa will be crucial for the team management to find their strongest XI.
Ahead of the first T20I against Australia, Skipper Rohit Sharma has already stated that KL Rahul will be his first-choice opening partner in the upcoming World Cup. The team management is expected to start with the same opening pair for the first T20I of three-match series against Australia on Tuesday in Mohali.
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Virat Kohli, who recently returned to form with a magnificent century against Afghanistan in Asia Cup 2022, will bat at the all-important number 3 spot. Suryakumar Yadav, who is arguably India’s best T20I batter at present, is expected to bat at the number 4 spot in the middle order.
The big race for the wicketkeeper’s spot will be between young Rishabh Pant and veteran Dinesh Karthik. Pant provides an option to the team management to use him anywhere in the batting order, while Karthik is used only as a finisher in recent times.
Hardik Pandya provides the right balance to the Indian team in white-ball formats. The upcoming T20I series against Australia will be crucial for Pandya as it will allow him to enter the T20 WC with some added confidence.
Axar Patel is expected to get a chance in the XI for the Aussies T20Is as it is the right time for the team management to try the southpaw as Ravindra Jadeja has already been ruled out of T20 WC and India need a like-to-like replacement for him to get their XI right.
Yuzvendra Chahal is currently India’s best bet in the spin-bowling department for the shortest format as he is a certainty in India’s strongest XI. While it will be difficult for Ravichandran Ashwin to get a place as India might go with three specialist pacers to get their combination right.
The return of Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel has provided a big boost to the Indian team for the T20 WC and the series against Australia will be the first challenger for the duo to prove their fitness. While Bhuvneshwar Kumar is expected to play the match ahead of the other pacers in the squad for first T20I against Australia.
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