Dharamsala: India will begin their home season with an eye on next year’s T20 World Cup as the Virat Kohli-led side takes on South Africa in the first of the three T20Is at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Stadium in Dharamsala on Sunday.
India have a nice mix of youth and experience in their T20 set up but as head coach Ravi Shastri had pointed out that only 4-5 cricketers from the one-day side make their way into the T20 XI as of now. So the biggest challenge for India will be to find the right mix before the World Cup countdown begins. And there cannot be a better way to start things off than a series against South Africa.
India blanked West Indies 3-0 in their last T20 assignment. The squad has remained the same barring the return of all-rounder Hardik Pandya in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been given a break.
South Africa are in a phase of transition but still boast some big match winners in their ranks who have the ability to topple India.
The South African side is looking to regroup after a disastrous World Cup where they were knocked out in the league stage.
The two teams will lock horns in a three-test series following three T20 internationals.
Kohli, 30, also had to take a barrage of questions on the future of senior batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni who has been left out of the T20 squad.
Young Rishabh Pant was picked instead with the selectors looking to groom him as the team’s first-choice wicketkeeper.
Kohli had himself triggered fresh rumours on Dhoni’s future on Thursday by tweeting a photo of them which many on social media interpreted as a tribute to the senior player.
India Playing XI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (Captain), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini.
South Africa Playing XI: Quinton de Kock (c), Rassie van der Dussen (vc), Temba Bavuma, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi,
Time: 07:00 PM IST.