After emerging victorious in the ODI series, India will be hoping to establish their dominance in the shorter format of the game as well when they take on England in the three-match T20I series, starting on Monday (March 4) in Guwahati.
With the 2020 T20 World Cup just under a year away, both sides will be keen to start their road to the marquee tournament on the right note.
History does not favour India when it comes to T20Is against England. The hosts have won just three of their fourteen T20I encounters against the two-time World T20 champions – their worst record against any opposition.
When narrowing it down to bilateral series, India have won just twice in six games – with the previous victory coming back in 2010.
Unlike the 50-over format, India’s T20I form in recent months has been a mixed bag. Beating all odds, India topped their group in the 2018 World T20 but fell tamely at the hands of their upcoming opposition by eight wickets in the semi-final. And this campaign came on the back of a loss against Bangladesh in the final of the 2018 Asia Cup.
India started the year with a historic ODI series win but slumped to a 3-0 whitewash away against New Zealand, exposing their fragility in the middle order.
That uncertainty has brought Veda Krishnamurthy back in the mix. In an interview with CricketNext, the dynamic batter said that she is hoping to carry her form in the domestic circuit into these games and seal her spot in the side.
Harleen Deol, who had caught the eye of the selectors during the during the Challenger Trophy, is likely going to partner Smriti Mandhana at the top, replacing Priya Punia, who was dropped after a poor tour of New Zealand.
With Harmanpreet Kaur’s ankle injury keeping her out of the entire limited overs series, the onus falls on Smriti Mandhana as she gears herself for a maiden captaincy stint. The southpaw will become the fifth captain for India in the format, and the third youngest, behind teammate Mithali Raj and Diana Edulji, both of whom led the side at the age of 21.
India’s bowling will be spearheaded by Shikha Pandey, with Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht and Deepti Sharma as the spinners in the side. The series could also see the debut of Komal Zanzad, who could become the first ever left-arm seamer to play for the woman’s side.
England have their own set of injuries to deal with. But their confidence will be buoyed by the close finish victory in the third ODI by two wickets, especially the manner in which they tackled the spinners.
With the likes of Katherine Brunt, Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver and Danielle Wyatt hitting form just before the T20I series, the home side will have their hands full in trying to achieve a favourable result against the much-superior opposition on paper.
India: Smriti Mandhana (c), Mithali Raj, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia, Anuja Patil, Shikha Pandey, Bharati Fulmali, Arundhati Reddy, Komal Zanzad, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav, Veda Krishnamurthy, Harleen Deol
England: Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Sophia Dunkley Brown, Freya Davies, Georgia Elwiss, Amy Ellen Jones, Heather Knight (c), Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Linsey Smith, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt, Alex Hartley