India will take on New Zealand in a three-match T20I series this November. The tournament will start at Jaipur on November 17th before moving to Ranchi and Kolkata. On Tuesday, BCCI announced the 16-member squad for the series. In this article, we predict India’s strongest playing XI for the T20I series against New Zealand. Before that, let’s take a look at the team that has been selected for the series.
India’s T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul
(VC), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (WK), Ishan Kishan (WK), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, and Mohd. Siraj.
Openers: Rohit Sharma (C) and KL Rahul (VC)
Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul will feature in India’s strongest playing XI for the T20I series against New Zealand. The duo featured for the country at the 2021 T20 World Cup. Although they had a forgettable outing in the first two games, the duo did well in the remaining encounters. With Virat Kohli absent, Rohit and KL will be the senior batsmen in the XI. While Rohit will lead the squad, KL will be his deputy.
Middle-Order: Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, and Rishabh Pant (WK)
Virat Kohli has been rested for the T20I series against New Zealand. Hence, depending on the situation of the game, one of Shreyas Iyer or Ishan Kishan could replace the outgoing skipper as the No.3 batsman. Ishan could be preferred to avoid overcrowding of right-handers in the top-order. Hence, he has an edge over Suryakumar Yadav to be a part of the playing XI.
Shreyas Iyer has long been groomed for the No.4 position in India’s limited-overs batting line-up. If not for the shoulder injury a few months ago, he might have operated in the role at the T20 WC. Rishabh Pant has not been rested and hence, will play as the wicket-keeper.
All-rounders: Venkatesh Iyer, Axar Patel and Harshal Patel
Venkatesh Iyer scored 370 runs in 10 games in the UAE leg of IPL 2021. The Madhya Pradesh cricketer also took three wickets with his medium-pace bowling. He has also been doing well in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Venkatesh did the job as an opener for KKR. However, that position is not vacant in the Indian XI. It needs to be seen as to how well he would adapt to the new role.
Axar Patel was part of the initial T20 WC squad before being replaced by Shardul Thakur. He will replace Ravindra Jadeja as the spin-bowling all-rounder. Harshal Patel collected the Purple Cap in IPL 2021. While that has opened the doors to the Indian Team, he will also be useful as a lower-order hitter. In fact, for Haryana in the SMAT, he has been opening the batting for his team.
Bowlers: R Ashwin, Deepak Chahar and Yuzvendra Chahal
R Ashwin played three games at the T20 WC to collect six wickets at an economy of 5.25. Hence, he cleared doubts if he can do well in the T20 format. Therefore, he will continue to play an important role against the Kiwis too.
Deepak Chahar was unsurprisingly not selected for the T20 World Cup. Although Bhuvneshwar Kumar is still part of the team, Deepak is likely to get the green signal ahead of the veteran. Yuzvendra Chahal is back in Team India after the axing from the T20 World Cup squad. He rediscovered his old self at UAE in IPL 2021. India struggled to pick wickets in the middle-overs against Pakistan and New Zealand in the T20 WC. Yuzi will look to provide a solution to this issue.