After a convincing 4-1 win in the five match ODI series against New Zealand, Team India will be heading to the shortest format of the game for the three match T20I series. The first of the three T20Is will be played at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Wednesday. New Zealand, who have the better head to head record and will be playing with the home advantage, will be starting the series as favorites.
Team India will have their task cut out particularly in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, who has been rested for the entirety of the series. Finding the right combination for the series opener would be a decisive factor as the far as the fate of the series is concerned for Team India. Meanwhile, former Indian skipper and legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar has named his lineup for the first T20I to be played on Wednesday.
Gavaskar surprisingly left out MS Dhoni from the playing eleven despite the wicketkeeper batsman having been in sublime form over the last month or so. After a forgettable 2018 in which he could only manage 275 runs from 20 matches, Dhoni hit form at the right time slamming three consecutive half centuries to take his team over the line in the three match ODI series against Australia. The veteran finished as the highest run getter for India in the series with 193 runs and was adjudged the Man of the Series for his performance.
Dhoni carried his good form to New Zealand, slamming a 33 ball 48 in the second ODI at Mount Maunganui to help India finish the innings on a high. Gavaskar however feels that the men in blue should try out youngsters instead of MS Dhoni in order to give him some rest ahead of the home series against Australia.
Sunil Gavaskar’s batting lineup for T20I series: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya.
Former New Zealand Mike Hesson, who was also on the show as well, felt that it would not be a bad idea to give MS Dhoni a rest in the series. Hesson added that the upcoming series would provide “huge opportunity for Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik to solve those World Cup decisions” before going on to add that MS Dhoni’s participation in the World Cup was an absolute certainty.
At the end of the discussion, Gavaskar however laid forth his prediction for the outcome of the series, backing India to win the three match series 2-1.