Team India is all set to kickstart 2020 with three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka. The first match of the series will be played on January 5 at Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati. Looking at the history between the two teams, close encounters are bound to happen in the series but this Lanka side is the weakest to travel to India in the past few years.
The series will be a good opportunity for the Team India to improve their ICC T20I rankings, the Men in Blue currently stand at the fifth position. With 2020 T20 World Cup in mind, some Indian players have the chance to make their case solid to be part of the grandest stage.
Here are the players, who will under a lot of scanners during three-match T20I series between India and Sri Lanka
1. Sanju Samson
A lot has been spoken about Sanju in the past few months as he was selected in the back to back T20I series against Bangladesh and West Indies but didn't get a single opportunity to showcase his talent. There is a slight chance that he might get a chance to be part of the Playing XI against Sri Lanka, but this time the pressure will be double on him. It's going to be a do or die series for Samson because if he fails on a given opportunity, then it might shut his door of 2020 World Cup squad.
2. Manish Pandey
Once, Manish Pandey was touted to be the next big thing in Indian cricket, when he became the first Indian to hit a century in IPL history in 2009. But the things didn't turn out as planned for him in the international stage, as inconsistent performances cost him the place in 2019 ODI World Cup. Later, he rejoined Indian team in the West Indies and South Africa T20I series, where he again failed to put up a big score. He lost his place in the playing XI to Shreyas Iyer in the next two series against Bangladesh and West Indies (at home). If he gets a chance again in Lanka series, then he needs to fix the issue and makes his case solid for T20 WC.
3. Washington Sundar
Skipper Virat Kohli and team management has been backing him from the last year but it's time for Sundar to prove his worth to the team. Sundar has played 11 T20Is last year but he failed to impress in them as he scalped just 5 wickets at a poor average of 49.60. Be it, Kohli or Rohit Sharma, both try Sundar inside the powerplay overs, the antics once former skipper MS Dhoni did with Ravichandran Ashwin. But Sundar failed to live up to the captain expectations. The T20I series against Sri Lanka might be the last chance for Sundar to cement his place for the World Cup in Australia later this year.
4. Shivam Dube
The lanky all-rounder came into India's scheme of T20 WC last year against Bangladesh in November, where he played all the matches of the series but failed to impress with the bat. But with the ball in hand, he produced a decent performance in the final T20I against Bangladesh where he ended the match with 3/30. In the West Indies T20I, he was promoted to bat at No 3 slot in the second match, where he proved his metal with 30-ball-54 in which he slammed 3 fours and 4 sixes, but with the ball, he was inconsistent this time.
It is going to be one crucial series for Dube as Hardik Pandya is expected to join Team India in the New Zealand tour after recovering from a back injury. With Hardik back in the team, Dube might struggle to be part of Playing XI, that make the Lanka T20Is an important part of the Southpaw's future in Team India.
5. Navdeep Saini
The Delhi pacer has a lot of potential in himself and he has proved it in his short career. In the very first match of his career last year, he bowled ferociously and ended with a magnificent figure of 17/3 in 4 overs, after that a slight drop was witnessed in his performance. The death-over bowling is an area, where Saini needs to improve if he wants to find his place in T20 WC and for that the next two series are going to be extremely crucial for him.