After sharing the Pataudi Trophy with England, Team India now shifts its focus to the white-ball series, starting on Thursday in Southampton. Captain Rohit Sharma, who missed out on the rescheduled 5th Test due to Covid-19, is fit and will return to lead the Men in Blue.
The visitors will take the upcoming series as an opportunity to test their youngster-rich bench strength. Since the likes of Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah won’t be there for Thursday’s clash, the think tank will look to find the balance with the available resources. However, fielding a strong XI from the current squad, which changes for the next two games, won’t be an easy task for the management.
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Ever since India’s horrible exit from the T20 World Cup 2021, the focus has been on creating a pool of talented players with which the team can conquer Australia later this year. Since a lot of new players have been tested under different circumstances, the team management will look to begin narrowing the squad.
Former India pacer Zaheer also feels that India should begin the process of shortlisting players for the T20 World Cup 2022. However, he added that it won’t be easy for the decision-makers.
“The preparation for the T20 World Cup should begin now. The conditions in England and Australia are different, so have to keep that in mind as well. When you have such a big squad, it becomes difficult to determine which players should play,” Zaheer told Cricbuzz.
The 2011 World Cup winner highlighted a few names who would be the frontrunners for selection. He opined that Ishan Kishan and Dinesh Karthik, who have been in good forms lately, will certainly put pressure on other players.
“I think one among Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson will play. If you wish to play Ruturaj Gaikwad, then they will have to shuffle again. Dinesh Karthik being in the squad as a finisher is an added advantage,” Zaheer said.
Speaking of the bowling unit, Zaheer said the Australian conditions are such that India would need quality all-rounders with them.
“You know that Bumrah and Bhuvi will be there for the World Cup. The team have to see what sort of combination they finalize. If you look at Australian conditions, it is very important to have an all-rounder. Have to see how much Hardik Pandya bowls in this series,” he added.