Indian team for SL Tour declared; Dhawan to lead, Bhuvi deputy

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Indian Team for Sri Lanka
Courtesy: SportsTiger

BCCI announced the Indian Cricket Team for the scheduled tour to Sri Lanka in July on Thursday. It was previously known that a second-string India side will be sent with most of the premier players in England for the WTC Final and the consequent England Test Tour. The squad still promises to deliver a punch, despite its missing stars, under the leadership of the prolific Shikhar Dhawan. Meanwhile, speedster Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be his deputy.

The selection committee picked as many as 20 of India’s best fit and available talents. They also added 5 net bowlers to travel with the team for exposure and experience. The schedule for the limited-overs tour was confirmed earlier this week with ODIs to be played on the 13, 16, and 18th of July followed by T20Is on the 21st, 23rd, and 25th. Former Indian captain, the National Cricket Academy (NCA) head and legend, Rahul Dravid has been confirmed as the head coach of the young squad. However, the BCCI did not include the support staff details in the press release.

Paddikal and Gaikwad have had a tremendous few months for their domestic as well as IPL teams
Paddikal and Gaikwad have had a tremendous few months for their domestic as well as IPL teams

The selection committee has come in all guns blazing giving a maiden India call-up to five flamboyant youngsters – Devdutt Paddikal, Nitish Rana, Ruturaj Gaikwad, K Gowtham, and Chetan Sakariya. Except for Gowtham, all others have found themselves a name through the franchise and List A cricket. Paddikal has had a successful season and a half opening for RCB, Gaikwad has been one of the biggest positives for CSK, Rana has been consistently amongst runs for both MI and KKR, while young Chetan Sakariya is on verge of scripting a fairytale following his terrific run this IPL. It will be of great interest to see if any of these players also make it to the XI going deep into the series.

The likes of Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Prithvi Shaw, Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson, Hardik, and Krunal Pandya all feature in the squad as well, much to the expectations. The Indian team also has a good bunch of bowlers to choose from – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, and the others already mentioned. On the slowish Lankan pitches, India could well be tempted to go in with Kul-Cha for the first time since the 2019 World Cup.

The reason behind Rahul Tewatia’s exemption from the squad remains unclear. Meanwhile, India will miss a couple of players to injury. Shreyas Iyer who is in rehab following his shoulder surgery and T Natarajan who isn’t fully fit yet from his knee injury would have easily made the team if not the playing XI if fit.

The Sri Lanka tour also comes in right on-set of the T20 World Cup. Dare I say – a few stellar performances here could potentially knock doors to the bigger World Cup squad as well.

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