India had a very busy schedule in 2019 and it looks like 2020 is going to be even busier. High on their priority list will be the T20 World Cup which takes place in Australia in October.
India have not done well in the T20 format for the last couple of years. Which explains their fifth place in the ICC T20 rankings. Head coach Ravi Shastri has made it clear that India is very keen on winning the T20 World Cup. And that will be their main focus as 2020 begins.
T20 Series Against Sri Lanka
India will start the New Year with a three match T20 series against the Lankan Lions. The first T20 will take place on Jan 5 in Guwahati provided security is up to par. The controversial CAA bill passed by the ruling BJP government has created massive protests throughout the country. Some of the biggest protests have taken place in Guwahati. So far there is no indication that there will be a change in venue!
The second T20 takes place on Jan 7 in Indore while Pune will host the third on Jan 10. India will once again enter the T20 series as favourites. They have played Sri Lanka on 8 occasions at home so far and have won 6 of them. Sri Lanka, currently number 7 in the T20 rankings, will want to start 2020 on a winning note.
The Lankans are sending a rather young team to India. The two most experienced players in the team are captain Lasith Malinga and former captain Angelo Matthews. Sri Lanka have decided to experiment with new talent and see if they can find new stars that will help them turn their fortunes around ahead of the T20 World Cup.
India Playing At Full Strength
India have rested some of their key players from T20 tournaments in the past. But they will field their best T20 team now as there is very little time before the World Cup. This squad will be led by Virat Kohli and will have a strong line-up of players. Only Rohit Sharma has been rested while Jasprit Bumrah makes his return from injury. Sanju Samson is once again in the side as a potential replacement for Rishabh Pant.
Kohli will want to win the first T20 and put the Lankans under pressure. Winning the T20 series 3-0 will be the goal of the Indian cricket team and they are the betting favourites to do so.
ODI Series Against Australia
Once the T20 series is over, Team India gets a few days off and then they will have to prepare for a 3 match ODI series against Australia. The first ODI will take place in Mumbai in Jan 14, followed by the second ODI on 17 Jan at Rajkot and the third and final ODI at Bengaluru on Jan 19.
While India are clear favourites against the Lankans, the same cannot be said against the Australians. Team India will have the home advantage and take confidence of their recent ODI record but they will be facing a very strong Australian team led by Aaron Finch.
Australia have their two most experienced players in David Warner and Steve Smith back in action and they also have the talented Marnus Labuschange in the squad. The rivalry between India and Australia is always a tense affair and one can expected a highly competitive series. Whoever ends up winning the first ODI, could very well go on to win the series!