After a 2-1 series defeat in Tests and a 5-1 win in ODIs, India will look to start positive in the three-match T20I series when they take on South Africa in the opening match at the New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, on Sunday. However, former India opener Virender Sehwag has an advice for the Indian captain Virat Kohli ahead of the series-opener.
"Having suffered a defeat in ODIs, South Africa will look to perform better when they take on India in the first T20I," Sehwag told India TV during the show 'Cricket Ki Baat'.
India rode on skipper Kohli's 528 runs to clinch the six-match ODI series, India's first ever bilateral series win on the South African soil. Throughout the ODI series, India's top-order played impressive cricket while middle-order failed miserably in tough conditions.
The 39-year-old, who is known for his fearless batting during his playing days, mentioned a few flaws in India's middle-order and advised Kohli to play wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni up the order in the limited-over cricket.
"I believe, there's still a scope of improvement in India's middle-order batting line-up. MS Dhoni should play up the order," Sehwag said.
"I think, Kohli fears that if Dhoni comes at No 4 and loses his wicket early then there won't be anyone on the finishing spot. But Kohli should send him up the order and hand the finisher's role to Manish Pandey or Hardik Pandya or Kedar Jadhav," the Delhi-based cricketer explained.
In the past, India's T20I side has played praiseworthy cricket on the South African soil as they won their first ever match in the shortest format in the Rainbow Nation back in 2006 followed by the ICC World T20 triumph under Dhoni in 2007.
Going in the 1st T20I, bygone middle-order batsman Suresh Raina, KL Rahul and Jaydev Unadkat are the new additions to India's T20I squad. The trio had a two-hour net session at Centurion on Friday before the start of the sixth ODI.
According to Sehwag, Rahul might come in place of Ajinkya Rahane for the Johannesburg T20I. "Rahul can come in place of Rahane as he's a better striker than the Mumbai batsman as far as T20Is are concerned."
Sehwag also claimed that spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who claimed 17 and 16 wickets respectively in the ODI series, will play a pivotal role in the T20I series as well.
"If they (Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal) concede a lot of runs and fail to get wickets, India will lose the T20I series," he said.
After India's historic win in South Africa, Sehwag had come up with a tweet, saying, "Parampara ,Pratishtha ,Anushaasan. Congratulations India on the 5-1 series victory. Brilliant effort from the spinners and wonderfully led from the front by Kohli."
Parampara ,Pratishtha ,Anushaasan. Congratulations India on the 5-1 series victory. Brilliant effort from the spinners and wonderfully led from the front by Kohli. pic.twitter.com/jYQhLTIqI8— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) February 16, 2018
Talking about India's chances in the T20I series, Sehwag added: "As I earlier tweeted 'Parampara, Pratishtha, Anushaasan' helped India win ODI series, they might win the T20Is as well if manage to follow the same style and disipline."