1. You Are At:
  2. English News
  3. Sports
  4. Cricket
  5. IND vs ENG: KL Rahul or Shikhar Dhawan? Happy headache in World Cup year | Key talking points ahead of T20Is

IND vs ENG: KL Rahul or Shikhar Dhawan? Happy headache in World Cup year | Key talking points ahead of T20Is

The five-match T20I series between India and England will start from March 12, with all matches scheduled at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Rishabh Gupta Rishabh Gupta
New Delhi Published on: March 11, 2021 11:20 IST
india vs england, ind vs eng, india vs England 2021, ind vs eng 2021, india vs england t20is, ind vs
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

The five-match T20I series between India and England will start from March 12, with all matches scheduled at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Team India will return to white-ball action when the side takes on England in the T20I series from March 12. The series holds added significance as this is the year of the T20 World Cup, also hosted by India in October-November. The five-match T20I series is a major opportunity for a fair few whose fate in the squad still hangs in balance for the marquee tournament.

A number of players who were knocking on the doors for inclusion in T20Is have been included, which adds to the versatility in the squad. At the same time, it also offers the problem of plenty – and potentially, fuel to another number-4 saga ahead of the World Cup.

Let’s go through the various things to look out for as India face England:

Dhawan or Rahul?

Shikhar Dhawan had missed out on participating In the T20I series against New Zealand in January 2020 due to injury. In India’s next T20I assignment in Australia, Rohit Sharma remained absent for the same reason. And so, this series will mark the presence of all three designated openers in the shortest format of the game – Dhawan, Rohit, and KL Rahul.

KL, who also attends to wicketkeeping duties in limited-overs, has been impressive in his performances as an opener throughout the last year. In eight T20Is, he scored 305 runs with three half-centuries – more importantly, at a strike-rate of nearly 140.

Dhawan, meanwhile, has remained a first-choice opener in the lineup unless unfit. There’s no question of leaving Rohit aside, and with Virat Kohli also in the mix, it is highly unlikely that all the four play together – which means either Dhawan or Rahul will have to be on the bench.

No.4 saga – 2.0?

These are very early days, let’s be honest. But if Suryakumar Yadav steps up for India in this series, one can sense another number four saga brewing.

At present, Shreyas Iyer bats below Virat Kohli at fourth position in the batting order, and it is very likely that he will start at the same position, with Suryakumar probably coming at 5. The latter also added another cap in his feather during the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League, where he played the role of finisher to tremendous effect for Mumbai Indians in a few matches.

However, both Iyer and Suryakumar play a primarily similar role in the middle overs for their respective IPL franchises and there could be a tussle for the fourth spot, in case both enjoy impressive outings in England T20Is.

Rishabh Pant’s arrival:

The Indian youngster is enjoying a purple catch in international cricket and it was no surprise when his name was included in the white-ball leg against England. Pant had a poor IPL by his standards but made a remarkable return to form during the Test series against Australia and England.

A naturally aggressive batsman, Pant also showed great maturity in India’s red-ball matches in the past few months. But an over-crowded middle order leaves Pant with two positions – as a floater at sixth or a straight-out hitter at seven. Out of the two, the former scenario is best suited for Pant.

Pant can cause severe damage to spinners and break the entire rhythm of the bowling unit when on song. With Hardik Pandya next, the two can breathe fire on 22 yards.

The curious case of Bhuvneshwar Kumar:

Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s struggles with injuries denied him an international match for the entirety of 2020. A further injury in the initial stages of IPL last year further cost him an opportunity to put in a few games under his belt.

Luckily for Bhuvneshwar, he recovered in time to participate in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy and had impressive returns. Yet, he faces a difficult task on the road to an international comeback.

Injury to Mohammed Shah and workload management for Jasprit Bumrah does allow Bhuvneshwar an opportunity to start in the XI, but this may probably be the make-or-break time for the 31-year-old pacer.  

Write a comment