Sri Lanka open their preparation for
October’s T20 World Cup with a three-match short-form tour of India.
What’s the schedule?
Barsapara Cricket Ground
Jan 05, 7.00pm IST
Holkar Cricket Stadium
Jan 07, 7.00pm IST
Maharashtra CA Stadium
Jan 10, 7.00pm IST
What are India’s chances?
The hosts may have closed out 2019 in imperious
form, but Virat Kohli’s men suffered more losses in T20 cricket during it than
in any other year in the format’s history.
More concerning still, five of those came in
10 games on home turf – each of Australia, Bangladesh, South Africa and the West
Indies all claimed at least one victory before their tours ended – and scrappy
series wins masked some rusty performances in high-scoring games.
However, after injuries tore through the
side in recent months, there is finally some good news for fans as Jasprit
Bumrah returns to an international squad for the first time since picking up a
back injury in the West Indies in September.
Rohit Sharma is rested after leading the T20
team against Bangladesh
Shikhar Dhawan also returns after playing
just one competitive match in December thanks to a wounded knee, coming into
the squad as a replacement for the rested Rohit Sharma.
Elsewhere in the pace attack, Shardul Thakur
and Navdeep Saini both hold on to the places they won during last month’s ODI
series against the West Indies as emergency injury cover, with Bhuvneshwar
Kumar (sports hernia) and Deepak Chahar (stress fracture of the back) remaining
unavailable as they continue rehabilitation.
The pair join Mohammed Shami on the
sidelines, as the 29-year-old is rested to facilitate Bumrah’s return.
Who’s in and who’s out?
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Jasprit
Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, Shivam Dube, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra
Jadeja, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), KL Rahul, Navdeep Saini, Sanju
Samson, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav
What about Sri Lanka?
2019 was an unusual year for Sri Lanka in
T20 cricket, having managed to whitewash Pakistan – the world’s No.1-ranked
side in the format – away from home with a squad missing 10 senior players, but
coming away with just one win and one tie from their remaining 10 outings.
However, such mixed performances are not at
all unusual for the 2014 World Twenty20 champions, who have claimed victory in
just five of their 16 meetings with India in the format to date, despite
boasting the best win percentage of any side bar Nepal in its global
Against a home side that has chased down 207
and defended 240 in its two home victories over the West Indies earlier this
month, a lack of equivalent firepower in the Sri Lankan lineup is likely to be
the main cause for concern.
Lasith Malinga’s side averaged just 7.45 per
over through the course of the last 12 months, and no new specialist batsmen
have come in to reinforce the batting lineup that stumbled to totals of 117 all
out and 99 for 9 during October’s 3-0 series loss in Australia.
Angelo Mathews returns to the squad after
more than a year out of T20 cricket
The tourists head to India having made just
two changes to that squad, as all-rounders Dhananjaya de Silva and Angelo
Mathews are both set to make returns to the side.
Neither has featured in any T20 cricket for
quite some time – de Silva’s most recent outing came against South Africa last
March, where he was promoted to open for the first time since 2017, and
Mathews’ latest appearance for both club and country was as far back as August
Shehan Jayasuriya drops out having managed
only 68 runs at a sub-110 strike rate in five matches since returning September
after more than three years out of the T20 side, while Kasun Rajitha only holds
onto his place in the 16-man setup after injury ruled out fellow seamer Nuwan
Pradeep after the squad announcement earlier this week.
Sri Lanka squad: Lasith Malinga (c),
Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Avishka Fernando, Oshada
Fernando, Danushka Gunathilaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Angelo
Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan
Sandakan, Dasun Shanaka, Isuru Udana
What will the weather be like?
The teams will need to keep an eye on the
clouds in Guwahati for the series opener, with showery conditions forecast in
the lead-up to the match and chances of more of the same as the match goes on.
Looking ahead, players can expect better
conditions in Indore (around 27 degrees during the day) before getting the
warmest day of all in Pune to close the series.
How can I follow it?
Star Gold will air the series in India, with pre-match coverage from 5.30pm IST. The series will also stream via the Hotstar platform.
Article Courtesy – Cricketer