The BCCI have scheduled back-to-back home series with a special emphasis being given to T20 cricket as India is very keen to get enough T20 cricket in as they prepare for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia which starts in October.
India recently won their T20 series against Sri Lanka and will now play a 3 match ODI series against Australia. As soon as the ODI series is finished, the men in blue will take a few days off. They will then travel to New Zealand to participate in a 5 match T20 series against the Kiwis.
India To Play T20 Series Against New Zealand
The first T20 will start on Jan 24 and will take place in Auckland. The second T20 is scheduled for Jan 26 and will also take place in Auckland. The series then heads to Hamilton for the third T20 which takes place on Jan 29. The fourth T20 moves on to Wellington and will be held on Jan 31. The fifth and final T20 will take place at Mount Maunganui and will be held on Feb 02.
This is the first overseas tour for India in 2020 and the men in blue will want to do well. The conditions in New Zealand are a lot different from the conditions in Australia but it will be an ideal testing ground for the selectors to see which players are able to cope with the swing and bounce that New Zealand wickets are famous for.
16 Member India Squad Announced
The selectors have not made any major changes to the T20 squad as they have retained more or less the same faces. The idea is to settle on the 16 players who are likely to be on the flight to Australia and give them as many opportunities to perform in the lead up to the World Cup.
Squad: Virat Kohli (capt.), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Manish Pandey, Shivam Dube, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Washington Sundar, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur.
Rohit Sharma who missed the T20 series against Sri Lanka has been drafted back into the side and will take on the role of the vice-captain once again. Sanju Samson who was part of the T20 series against Sri Lanka has been dropped. There is no place in the squad for Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Hardik Pandya who are currently recovering from injuries. There is also no MS Dhoni in the squad. The former Indian captain continues to remain unavailable for selection. He also refuses to confirm if he will retire before the T20 World Cup takes place.
Chance To Cement T20 Spot
This is a big series for a number of players in the middle-order as well as for the spinners and fast bowlers. Shreyas Iyer needs to have a few more consistent performances under his belt to cement the number 4 spot. Playing a couple of good knocks in New Zealand is the best way of doing this. Manish Pandey is trying to do the same thing with the number 5 spot and it will be up to him seal the deal. Rishabh Pant has been chosen as the number one wicket-keeper batsman. A failure, however, could close the door on his T20 World Cup dreams in Australia.
Navdeep Saini and Saini Thakur had a brilliant T20 series against Sri Lanka and will want to keep their form. They could very well be competing for a spot in the T20 World Cup playing XI. India is taking 4 spinners to New Zealand. It is quite likely that all four will get a game at some point. The two spinners who impress the most will be frontrunners for Australia.