Dashing stroke-players Suryakumar Yadav and Sanju Samson will be returning to the India playing XI in place of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant in the two-match T20I series against Ireland starting Sunday.
While chief coach Rahul Dravid is in Leicester with the Test squad, National Cricket Academy (NCA) head VVS Laxman, who is in charge of the T20I side for this particular series, is expected to follow the template set by ‘The Wall’.
With Iyer and Pant in the Test team, Surya, who is making a comeback from a wrist injury, and Samson, who is looking to make use of what could be his last chance to prove his worth, will be sure-shot starters.
Surya has been a regular in the Indian T20I side for the past one year and will only get his place back.
But as far as Samson is concerned, his alternative could be Deepak Hooda, who can also bowl a couple of overs of handy off-spin, besides possessing an ability to hit the ball hard.
However, if one looks at coach Dravid’s philosophy, he doesn’t believe in casting his net too wide and exploring too many options. He also needs to close in on spots by the time India play the Asia Cup.
While Ruturaj Gaikwad has not been very successful, the Chennai Super Kings opener might just get two more chances against a weak Ireland side, against whom he can score some runs and get his confidence back.
Ishan Kishan, who has all but sealed the reserve opener’s slot for the next few months, will continue in his role for the time being and will open with regular skipper Rohit Sharma in the England leg of the T20Is also.
Stand-in captain Hardik Pandya, who batted at No. 5 in the last series, is expected to continue in that position with Dinesh Karthik coming a slot below him.
However, with Karthik being assigned a specific role, he could also come ahead of Pandya, depending on the situation.
But it is still not clear if Dravid or Laxman will try out ‘Jammu Express’ Umran Malik or blockhole specialist Arshdeep Singh in this series, or continue with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Avesh Khan, with Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal as the spinners.