Varun likely to make his international debut; toss up between Padikkal and Gaikwad likely
Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy could well be in line for international debut as India, with a galaxy of powerhouse IPL performers, start overwhelming favourite against Sri Lanka in the opening T20 International here on Sunday.
Coach Rahul Dravid will want to check out Varun, who proved his prowess in the IPL. Having missed out on a series in Australia and a home series versus England due to fitness and injury related issues, the 29-year-old Varun would be aware India is looking at one spinner for the T20 World Cup in the UAE.
Another debutant could be either Devdutt Padikkal or Ruturaj Gaikwad, both of whom are proven IPL performers. With Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav set to leave for England, the team management might not risk playing both.
Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson may be included in the playing XI from which Manish Pandey is likely to be dropped. The Pandya brothers — Hardik and Krunal — are automatic choices in this format. Bhuvneshar Kumar and Deepak Chahar, after a well-earned rest, will be back in the mix and Yuzvendra Chahal is likely to join Krunal and Varun in the slow-bowling department.
For Sri Lanka, the first ODI win in nine years on home soil against India could just be the turnaround the country needs. Dasun Shanaka is a young captain, but quality players like Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Chamika Karunaratne and Avishka Fernando would pose quality challenge for the Indians.
The teams (from):
India: Shikhar Dhawan (Capt.), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Vice-Capt.), Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K. Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini and Chetan Sakariya.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (Capt.), Dhananjaya de Silva, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ashen Bandara, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Udara, Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Binura Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya, Shiran Fernando, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Ishan Jayaratne, Praveen Jayawickrama, Asitha Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara and Isuru Udana.
Match starts at 8 p.m. IST.
The schedule of T20Is: July 25, 27 and 29. All matches start at 8 p.m.
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