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Prithvi Shaw smashed six fours in the first over Delhi Capitals' innings against the Kolkata Knight Riders | Photo: BCCI / IPL
Prithvi Shaw smashed six fours in the first over Delhi Capitals' innings against the Kolkata Knight Riders | Photo: BCCI / IPL
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Aakash Chopra Is A Huge Fan Of Prithvi Shaw Because One Doesn’t Get A Destructive Batsman Like Him In Entire India

Aakash Chopra believes Prithvi Shaw’s destructive batsmanship cannot be replicated by any other Indian batsman.

Prithvi Shaw tore the Sri Lankan bowling attack apart in the first ODI on Sunday (18 July). The dashing opener smashed 43 runs off just 24 deliveries, including nine hits to the fence.

Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Is A Huge Fan Of Prithvi Shaw Because One Doesn’t Get A Batsman Like That In Entire India

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra was lavish with his praise for Prithvi Shaw. The former Indian opener said that he is a big fan of Prithvi Shaw who reminds everyone of former dashing swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag.

“It seemed the momentum will be with Sri Lanka but Prithvi came, Prithvi ‘Shaw’, Prithvi conquered. He is from a different planet. I am a huge Prithvi Shaw fan because you will not get a batsman like that in entire India.”

Prithvi Shaw ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images
Prithvi Shaw ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images

Aakash Chopra highlighted that Prithvi Shaw had carried on with the form he had shown in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the first half of IPL 2021.

“Viru (Virender Sehwag) used to be there but this player, 43 runs in just 24 balls, and it seemed without breaking a sweat, without taking chances, only on the rise and through the gap. I mean what a player. 2021 has been in this player’s name, from the Vijay Hazare Trophy to the IPL to now.”

Aakash Chopra: Prithvi Shaw Wasted The Opportunity To Convert Good Positive Start To A Substantial Knock

On the flip side, Aakash Chopra observed that Prithvi Shaw seemed to have given away his wicket after being struck on the head by a bouncer. Prithvi Shaw could not convert his start to a huge score against Sri Lanka.

“However, when he got hit on the head, he got a little rattled and then played a bad shot to get out. He will think about this, that these 43 runs are pretty and explosive but people tend to forget 40-odd runs.”

The 43-year signed off by pointing out that Prithvi Shaw had wasted an opportunity to play a substantial knock. In this regard, Aakash Chopra said that he should not have missed the chance.

“He had a chance today to convert it into 140. You have let that chance slip away from your hands.”

Prithvi Shaw was struck on the helmet by a Dushmantha Chameera bouncer. He was dismissed off the very next delivery he faced, caught at long-on off Dhananjaya de Silva while going for a big shot.

Colombo: India's Ishan Kishan, right, celebrates scoring a half century with Shikhar Dhawan during the first one day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, July 18, 2021.AP/PTIPhoto
Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, July 18, 2021.AP/PTIPhoto

Chasing 263 for victory on a good pitch, the tourists won by seven wickets with 80 balls to spare. Prithvi Shaw’s 24-ball 43 provided early momentum and ODI debutant Ishan Kishan’s 42-ball 59 took the game away from Sri Lanka. Shikhar Dhawan anchored the chase with an unbeaten 86 off 95 balls but before the batsmen did their job, India’s spinners unsettled the opponents.

This was Prithvi Shaw’s first 50-over international in about 18 months. In batting-friendly conditions, the 21-year-old didn’t have the fear of his exaggerated hand movement impeding his natural game. In 4 ODIs, he has 127 runs averaging 31.75 and this 43 is his highest score to date, and the in-form batsman would like to make amends to his below-par average in his brief ODI career.

File picture of Russel Arnold. - THE HINDU
File picture of Russel Arnold. - THE HINDU
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Russel Arnold Envious That India Has So Many Quality Players

Russel Arnold has made heads turn with his glaring remark on Shikhar Dhawan-led India who will battle it out against Sri Lanka in the three-match ODI series from July 18 (Sunday), which will be followed by three T20Is.

While a lot of talks have been made on the second-string Shikhar Dhawan-led Team India, without white-ball regulars in the likes of India captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, former Sri Lankan cricketer Russel Arnold is envious of the team having quality cricketers as the batting line-up has a lot of talented youngsters.

Russel Arnold | Twitter
Russel Arnold | Twitter

Russel Arnold Is Jealous That India Has So Many Quality Players In Their Bench

On one hand, Arjuna Ranatunga feels Sri Lanka playing a second-stringed Indian team in home conditions is an ‘insult’ to SLC, Russel Arnold has revealed that he is jealous of Shikhar Dhawan-led India as it gives an account into the Men in Blue’s rich depth and solid bench strength.

Despite no Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma, India has great balance in their squad with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pandya brothers, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manish Pandey, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav along with youngsters such as Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, Chetan Sakariya, Varun Chakravarthy and Krishnappa Gowtham, most of whom are yet to debut for India in limited-overs.

Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan - SPORTZPICS
Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan – SPORTZPICS

Even the uncapped Indian players are big names, or known faces, due to their success in the extravagant IPL in the recent editions.

Russel Arnold told, “I just feel jealous that India has those cricketers. Even this team, we’ve seen them play. We’ve seen the quality they bring. There is a lot of experience too in Shikhar Dhawan, the Pandyas, spinners Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. There’s a lot of exciting prospects.”

“We also know about the youngsters and what they can do. The question for the India team would be, can these youngsters actually perform on their own knowing that there is no cushion of a Rohit or Virat. Can they take that next step? It will be exciting to see. As I said, I’m jealous that India is actually in this position (of having so many quality players),” Russel Arnold added.

Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, Krishnappa Gowtham and Chetan Sakariya got maiden India call-ups. Yuzvendra Chahal will lead the spin department and will have support from the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, and Varun Chakravarthy. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will spearhead the pace attack with support from the likes of Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, and Chetan Sakariya.

Russell Arnold: There Is A Lot Of Talent In The Batting Line-up

Prithvi Shaw has earned a call-up into the white-ball squad following his excellent form in IPL 2021 (308 runs) and Vijay Hazare Trophy (827 runs). Openers Devdutt Padikkal (473 runs in IPL 2020 and 195 runs in IPL 2021) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (204 runs in IPL 2020 and 196 runs in IPL 2021) performed well in IPL.

Nitish Rana had scored above 300 runs in every edition since IPL 2017 and managed 201 runs in 7 games in IPL 2021. Chetan Sakariya who impressed everyone in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 where he picked 7 wickets in as many games for Rajasthan Royals has also earned a place in the squad.

The former Sri Lanka cricketer Russel Arnold further opined, “Of course, you will be looking at Dhawan and Pandyas to perform but I’m thinking Prithvi Shaw might get a run. Helpfully he will prove me right by entertaining everyone.”

Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI

“There is Padikkal, Gaikwad. When we look at the batting, there is a lot of talent. Will they look at it as an opportunity and will they push the seniors? It comes down to what you have and what you want to prove.

“You can sit back and think I’m a part of it, I’ve got my opportunity and that’s fine, this attitude will not take you far. Hunger is what will make the difference. It’s hard to give names right now because we don’t know who is going to play from the big squad of 20. But whoever plays, we know can be dangerous,” concluded Russel Arnold.

The forthcoming SL tour will also see Rahul Dravid, India’s former captain, serving as the head coach of the national side for the first time ever in Ravi Shastri’s absence, who is still in the UK for the five Tests against England. Many believe with Ravi Shastri’s tenure set to get over after the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE, Rahul Dravid will be a strong contender to take over the top job.

Sanju Samson (File photo)
Sanju Samson (File photo)
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Sanju Samson Deserves A Chance For Being More Experienced Who Has Been Captaining Rajasthan Royals Too, Says Mohammad Kaif

Mohammad Kaif, former Indian middle-order batsman feels India’s captain for the Sri Lanka tour Shikhar Dhawan and head coach Rahul Dravid will have their tasks cut out in selecting the keeper, but for starters, they will give Sanju Samson the nod.
With Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul with the Indian Test side in England, it will boil down to a choice between Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan – the wicketkeepers in India’s young side – in the Sri Lanka series.
Mohammad Kaif
Mohammad Kaif

Mohammad Kaif: Selecting The Keeper Is A Tough Job But Sanju Samson Is Ahead For Being More Experienced Than Ishan Kishan

Sanju Samson is talented but inconsistent. The gap between his jaw-dropping innings is at times frustrating even for his biggest admirers. Only 7 T20Is despite being one of the most attractive players in the IPL for six-seven years, do not do justice to his talent but they also highlight where the right-hander has been lacking all these years.

Sanju Samson had a relatively poor IPL 2020 for Rajasthan Royals managing only 375 runs in 14 games averaging 28.84 but was going strong in IPL 2021 managing 277 runs in 7 games averaging 46.16 and scored a ton. He led from the front as captain as the team was placed 5th before IPL 2021 was suspended for bio-bubble breach.

Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson (Image Credit: Twitter)

First, it was MS Dhoni’s towering presence that kept Sanju Samson away from donning the gloves for India. Then Rishabh Pant appeared to be winning the keeper’s race in limited-overs after a successful run in Tests and now Sanju Samson has another competitor for that keeper’s slot in Ishan Kishan.

“It’s going to be a very tough job for Rahul Dravid as a coach and Shikhar Dhawan as captain. There are only six matches and you have a big squad. But I think Sanju Samson has been there for the last couple of years.

“He has played for India before. He has gone to New Zealand, Australia. He has been captaining Rajasthan Royals too,” Mohammad Kaif told Hindustan Times when asked about the keeper’s choice for the first ODI in a virtual interaction organized by Sony Sports.

Sanju Samson had forced his way into the Indian T20I side as a batsman on the back of stunning scores in the IPL and also the domestic white-ball tournaments Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali trophies.

But the Kerala youngster’s inability to put up a good score in New Zealand and then in Australia, promoted India to look towards Ishan Kishan for the home series against England. The Mumbai Indians left-hander grabbed the opportunity with both hands by slamming 56 off 32 balls on debut.

Mohammad Kaif: All Eyes Will Be On Crucial Member Hardik Pandya

Mohammad Kaif, however, believes Sanju Samson deserves the first chance.

“I think in ODIs, Rahul Dravid and Shikhar Dhawan would prefer those who have already played for India. The experienced players might get priority in the first couple of matches. Sanju is one of them,” Mohammad Kaif added.

The Indian side in Sri Lanka is without some of their top players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ravindra Jadeja. Mohammad Kaif said it will provide an ideal opportunity for the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, and Hardik Pandya to showcase their leadership qualities.

“Shikhar and Prithvi have been playing well. Suryakumar Yadav has done really well for India and in the IPL. Then you’ve got Hardik Pandya. All eyes will be on him How he does on this tour. He’s a very crucial member of this team. Being an all-rounder, Hardik hopefully gets to bowl because when he bowls, he brings in that balance to the side. There will be eyes on his fitness,” Mohammad Kaif added while responding to the query.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya | Getty
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (L) and Hardik Pandya (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who is on a comeback trail, and wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will also like to make a strong for themselves before the selectors finalize the squad for the T20 World Cup later this year.

“There will be a keen interest in Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s fitness. He was not a part of the Test side. So he would want to put his best foot forward. Kuldeep and Chahal might play together. They haven’t played together for a long time. Kuldeep hasn’t played regularly for the last few months.

“He will be looking forward to making a mark. The senior players will get the first preference and from there on, they will see how it goes,” Kaif, who is a part of the broadcast team for the India-Sri Lanka limited-overs series, said.

Sanju Samson has scored just 83 runs at a lowly average of 11.85 in the seven T20Is he has played for Team India.
The 22-year-old Ishan Kishan made his debut in the second T20I against England in Ahmedabad and smashed 56 runs off 32 balls which was studded with 5 fours and 4 sixes.
Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Aakash Chopra Says IPL A Reason Behind India’s Depth In Bench Strength

Aakash Chopra has credited the IPL as a reason behind the depth in Indian cricket. He cited the example of keeper Ishan Kishan overshadowing Virat Kohli on his India debut to substantiate his point.

Ishan Kishan smashed 56 runs off just 32 deliveries during his T20I debut against England earlier this year. He was the dominant partner in his 94-run association with the Indian skipper for the second wicket.

Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli added 94 runs in 9 overs for the 2nd wicket in the 2nd T20I (Reuters Photo)
Ishan Kishan and Virat Kohli added 94 runs in 9 overs for the 2nd wicket in the 2nd T20I (Reuters Photo)

Aakash Chopra: IPL Allowed 1st Class Cricketers To Play In Front Of Packed Houses

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra shed some light on the secrets behind Team India’s depth. The cricketer-turned-commentator highlighted that domestic cricketers getting to contest matches in a high-pressure atmosphere during the IPL has played a significant role.

“The IPL has allowed first-class cricketers to play in front of packed houses. My debut Test was the first game I played in front of a crowd. Ishan Kishan has played so much IPL, that when he got a chance for India, his batting made Virat Kohli look pale in front of him.”

Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra added that not only Ishan Kishan but plenty of Indian cricketers like Suryakumar Yadav have also benefitted from the experience they have gained through the IPL.

“Nitish Rana has not yet made his debut but there is no pressure, he consistently goes in front of the crowd and does not feel any pressure. You can see anyone – Suryakumar Yadav who scooped his first ball for a six in international cricket. Devdutt Padikkal – the same story,” Aakash Chopra said.

The IPL certainly presents a huge stage for talented youngsters to showcase their talents and helps them get rid of their nerves.

Aakash Chopra: IPL Allowed Many Cricketers To Rub Shoulders With World’s Best

Aakash Chopra pointed out that the IPL gives Indian youngsters a chance to play with and against the cream of the crop in world cricket like star overseas bowlers Trent Boult, Kagiso Rabada, and Rashid Khan and batsmen Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard, and David Warner.

“This storm has catapulted India’s journey to the No.1 cricketing nation in the world. The IPL has empowered you, it has encouraged you to dream, it has allowed so many domestic cricketers to rub shoulders with the best in the world.”

The 43-year-old signed off by stating that the IPL forces players to raise their game to meet the required standards.

“You get to know how to handle pressure and expectations, and you are forced to improve the quality of your cricket. So I think IPL has been absolutely phenomenal. It is a terrific vehicle to make you capable of playing for India,” Aakash Chopra said.

Aakash Chopra also credited the broad base of players available, the excellent domestic structure, and BCCI’s role in expanding the game, including the ‘A’ team tours, as other contributors to India’s immense bench strength.

Devdutt Padikkal , RCB Twitter handle
Devdutt Padikkal , RCB Twitter handle

Devdutt Padikkal was impressive in the IPL 2020 and 2021 as he brought up his maiden IPL century in 2021. He will be eager to make his debut for India sooner or later, but he may not be the first-choice opener though. The elegant left-hander is an excellent player of pace bowling.

Varun Chakravarthy was named in the Indian squad for the last two T20I series against Australia and England but the mystery spinner was unlucky to miss out on making his international debut with fitness issues and injury problems.

The left-arm seamer Chetan Sakariya has been a sensation in the IPL for the Rajasthan Royals and India’s long search for a left-arm fast bowler might just be fulfilled. Nitish Rana has been a consistent performer in domestic cricket and a left-hander is a useful option in the batting order as he can play the role of a top-order batsman as well as the finisher and he is going to be very handy with his part-time off-spin.

Krishnappa Gowtham has been a name that has been going around in the Indian domestic circuit for a long time now for his big-hitting capabilities as well as his economical bowling spells with the new ball.

Leg-spinners Rahul Chahar (L) and Yuzvendra Chahal
Leg-spinners Rahul Chahar (L) and Yuzvendra Chahal
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Rahul Chahar Ahead Of Yuzvendra Chahal For T20I World Cup Spot, Says Deep Dasgupta

Deep Dasgupta feels that as of now, it’s highly unlikely that the spin-twins Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will feature together in the T20 World Cup.

In an interaction on his YouTube channel, the former wicketkeeper-batsman said India is likely to put Mumbai Indians leg-spinner Rahul Chahar ahead of the more experienced Yuzvendra Chahal for the marquee competition. He, however, noted that the pecking order could change based on the upcoming Sri Lanka series and the remainder of IPL 2021.

Yuzvendra Chahal & Kuldeep Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Yuzvendra Chahal & Kuldeep Yadav. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Deep Dasgupta: Rahul Chahar Is Now Ahead Of Yuzvendra Chahal But A Lot Will Depend On IPL 2021 And Sri Lanka Limited Overs Series

Besides poor bowling performances in IPL 2019 and 2020, Kuldeep Yadav also didn’t feature in a single game in the first half of the IPL 2021 and is all but certain to sit out the upcoming T20 World Cup. Hence, the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka, which will feature most of India’s fringe players, will be critical for him to try and win back his place in India’s first XI. In T20Is his average is an extraordinary 13.77 but he has got limited opportunities, playing 21 T20Is.

“At the moment, it looks unlikely. To be very honest, I see Rahul Chahar ahead of Yuzi (Yuzvendra Chahal). A lot will depend on the Sri Lanka series and obviously on the IPL as well. As for Kuldeep, he has not been the preferred bowler for more than a year and a half. So, it looks unlikely to me as of now. I don’t know what will happen in six months,” said Deep Dasgupta.

Deep Dasgupta. Photo Credit (Twitter)
Deep Dasgupta. Photo Credit (Twitter)

While Kuldeep Yadav hasn’t played a T20I or an IPL game since January 2020, Yuzvendra Chahal was dropped midway through India’s last T20I series and made way for Rahul Chahar. Rahul Chahar has an experience of 3 T20Is where has picked as many wickets. He has also played 38 IPL matches, collecting 41 wickets at a decent average and strike-rate of 24.41 and 19.76 respectively.

In Sri Lanka, Yuzvendra Chahal will lead the spin department and will have support from the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, K Gowtham, Rahul Chahar, and Varun Chakravarthy.

Deep Dasgupta: Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan To Share The Games

Amid the ongoing debate over who deserves to don the wicketkeeping gloves in Sri Lanka between Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson, Deep Dasgupta batted for parity of opportunities for both the youngsters.

“I think both of them have earned their stripes, they should share the games in the series. Both of them have an opportunity for the World Cup, so yeah, if they are six matches, both should play [some of them] as wicketkeeper-batsmen,” said Deep Dasgupta.

Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are vying for the wicketkeeper's spot for the Sri Lanka series
Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are vying for the wicketkeeper’s spot for the Sri Lanka series

The India-Sri Lanka series was supposed to start on July 13 but has now been pushed back to July 18 due to a couple of Covid-19 cases that emerged in the host camp. All the players tested negative on Sunday and the first ODI is expected to begin as planned.

Sanju Samson has scored just 83 runs at a lowly average of 11.85 in the seven T20Is he has played for Team India.
The 22-year-old Ishan Kishan made his debut in the second T20I against England in Ahmedabad and smashed 56 runs off 32 balls which was studded with 5 fours and 4 sixes.
Sanju Samson had a relatively poor IPL 2020 for Rajasthan Royals managing only 375 runs in 14 games averaging 28.84 but was going strong in IPL 2021 managing 277 runs in 7 games averaging 46.16 and scored a ton. In IPL 2020 Ishan Kishan managed 516 runs averaging a staggering 57.33 but in IPL 2021 he managed only 73 runs in 5 games averaging a mere 14.6.
Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are vying for the wicketkeeper's spot for the Sri Lanka series
Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are vying for the wicketkeeper's spot for the Sri Lanka series
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Aakash Chopra Picks Ishan Kishan To Start Ahead Of Sanju Samson Against Sri Lanka

Aakash Chopra believes it is a tough call to choose between keepers Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan as India’s wicketkeeper-batsman for the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka.

India is scheduled to play three ODIs and as many T20Is during their white-ball tour of Sri Lanka starting on July 18 instead of July 13th. Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are the two glovesmen in the 20-member squad led by Shikhar Dhawan and coached by Rahul Dravid.

Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Will Start With Ishan Kishan For Doing Well Recently In International Cricket

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra was asked by a fan to choose between the two wicketkeeper-batsmen for the Sri Lanka trip. While stating that the team management might opt to give equal opportunities to both of them, the cricketer-turned-commentator named Ishan Kishan as his initial pick.

“It is a tough question. I also feel that because Rahul Dravid and Shikhar Dhawan are there, maybe both are played three matches each. I will start with Ishan Kishan for the simple reason that he had done well recently. If someone has done well, you want to reward him,” said Aakash Chopra.

Ishan Kishan. Photo Credit: (Twitter)
Ishan Kishan. Photo Credit: (Twitter)

Aakash Chopra highlighted that Sanju Samson has been slightly underwhelming in the few matches he has played for India.

“Sanju Samson got limited opportunities at the highest level. He didn’t really make the most of it but he will get chances again now,” Aakash Chopra said.

Sanju Samson has scored just 83 runs at a lowly average of 11.85 in the seven T20Is he has played for Team India.
The 22-year-old Ishan Kishan made his debut in the second T20I against England in Ahmedabad and smashed 56 runs off 32 balls which was studded with 5 fours and 4 sixes. He became the second Indian batsman, after Ajinkya Rahane, to score a fifty on his T20I debut. His tally of four sixes is the highest for an Indian batsman on debut in a T20I. He has played only 2 T20Is and managed 60 runs averaging 30.

Aakash Chopra Won’t Be Surprised Or Disappointed If The Team Plays Sanju Samson First And Then Plays Ishan Kishan

While observing that he would not have any complaints if Sanju Samson is preferred, Aakash Chopra reiterated that he would give Ishan Kishan the first opportunity.

“But there should be continuity. Last time you had played Ishan, albeit in a shorter format and the longer encounters will be played first, that means the ODIs but then I will start with Ishan but I won’t be surprised or disappointed if the team plays Sanju first and then plays Ishan.”

Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson (Image Credit: Twitter)

The 43-year-old signed off by highlighting that Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan will have to prove themselves slightly lower in the batting order.

“Sanju Samson is ahead in seniority but Ishan Kishan is ahead if we see in terms of continuity. Both are talented players but both will not get to bat up the order. They will not get a spot in the top three. So they will have to play a new role, if they are able to do that, they will do their chances a world of good.”

Skipper Shikhar Dhawan, his Delhi Capitals teammate Prithvi Shaw, and Mumbai Indians batsman Suryakumar Yadav are likely to be Team India’s top three during the Sri Lanka series.

Sanju Samson had a relatively poor IPL 2020 for Rajasthan Royals managing only 375 runs in 14 games averaging 28.84 but was going strong in IPL 2021 managing 277 runs in 7 games averaging 46.16 and scored a ton. He led from the front as captain as the team was placed 5th before IPL 2021 was suspended for bio-bubble breach.

For Mumbai Indians‘ Ishan Kishan, it was just the opposite. In IPL 2020 he managed 516 runs averaging a staggering 57.33 but in IPL 2021 he managed only 73 runs in 5 games averaging a mere 14.6.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (Instagram)
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Suryakumar Yadav Reacts To The Reports Of Retention Of Four Players In IPL 2022

Suryakumar Yadav has shown signs of rapid improvement and provides great value to the most successful franchise Mumbai Indians. With 512 runs in the 2018 season, followed by 424 runs in 2019 and 480 runs in 2020, the conversation around the Mumbai batsman shifted to the prospects of him doing the same in India colours.

It took until the fourth T20I in the five-match series against England earlier this year for him to get a chance to bat in international cricket, where an instant impact was made.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)

Suryakumar Yadav Appeared In Style In International Cricket And Is Expected To Continue His Form In The Sri Lanka Series

His 31-ball 57, consisting of six fours and three sixes, bore an uncanny resemblance to what he regularly pulled off for his IPL franchise. He did it again just two days later with a 17-ball 32 in the fifth T20I and is expected to play a stellar role once again in the Sri Lanka series where he is set to play all 6 games.

The Indian team consisting of newcomers and white ball specialists is currently on the Sri Lanka tour to play three ODIs and as many T20Is against the hosts. This series is thus likely to be the only shorter format series to be played by India ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Ahead of the much-awaited series, there came the reports that the IPL 2022 mega auction will bring in a new rule for every IPL team to retain a total of four players instead of three for the mega auction.

Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP
Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP

In the pre-tour press conference, Suryakumar Yadav was asked about the retention policy of the auction. Answering it he said that the team got to hear about the news and aren’t yet sure about its relevance yet. Suryakumar Yadav also echoed his sentiments on what it means to play for the country. He further went on to add that the players are focused and are all gearing up for the upcoming series.

He emphasized the importance of looking at what is in store for the team in the series. Putting up the same thought Suryakumar Yadav said that one cannot really think about what is going on back home.

“Not really. I think this news came yesterday. We are still trying to find out if it’s true or no. But yeah when you play for India the emotion is completely different. I think when you play for India, you don’t think about anything else.

“You are representing your country..the feeling is completely different so, at that time, you can’t think about what’s happening back home. So everyone is really focused and raring to go,” Suryakumar said.

Ahead of the limited-overs battle, starting July 13, the Indian players were involved in an intra-squad practice match. The contest was a 20-over a side warm-up game between Shikhar Dhawan-led XI and Bhuvneshwar Kumar-led XI.

After winning the toss, the Shikhar Dhawan-led side posted 150 runs on the scoreboard, thanks to Manish Pandey‘s heroics with the willow. The Karanataka batsman made 63 runs and got appreciation from his teammates. Ruturaj Gaikwad also made a valuable contribution of 30 runs.

In reply, Mumbai Indians (MI) star batsman Suryakumar Yadav scored a quick-fire half-century to help his side register a comfortable win with three overs to spare. Devdutt Padikkal and Prithvi Shaw also shined with the bat for Bhuvi XI, forming a dominating 60-run partnership for the opening wicket.

Suryakumar Yadav’s Stint With The Mumbai Indians

For the last few years, Suryakumar Yadav has been a vital cog in the Mumbai Indians team. He has often held the fort for the team in the middle-orders guiding them to victory with his belligerent display with the bat. Now with the retention policy that has allowed four players to be retained, it is a question whether Suryakumar Yadav goes ahead of some of the other key names.

Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan - SPORTZPICS
Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan – SPORTZPICS

It is pretty obvious that skipper Rohit Sharma and pacer Jasprit Bumrah would make it to the list. However, with the Pandya brothers (Krunal Pandya and Hardik Pandya) and Ishan Kishan too being the important parts of the side, it would be intriguing to watch how the five-time winners shape their team this time around.

Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP
Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP
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Shikhar Dhawan To Lead, Bhuvneshwar Kumar His Deputy As India Announce 20-member Limited-Overs Squad For Sri Lanka Tour

Shikhar Dhawan will captain the young Indian side in the 3-match ODI series and the 3-match T20I series against Sri Lanka scheduled in the month of July.

The All-India Senior Selection Committee picked the Indian squad for the 3-match ODI series and the 3-match T20I series against Sri Lanka scheduled in the month of July. All matches will be played at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, Colombo. They have picked 20 players in the squad with five net bowlers.

Shikhar Dhawan Image Source : AP
Shikhar Dhawan Image Source: AP

Shikhar Dhawan To Lead, Bhuvneshwar Kumar To Be His Deputy In Sri Lanka Tour

Shikhar Dhawan will captain the 20 members Indian side. Shikhar Dhawan was the leading run-scorer in IPL 2021 before it was postponed with 380 runs from 8 games averaging 54.28. Shikhar Dhawan was the 2nd highest run-getter in IPL 2020 too with 618 runs in 17 games. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be the vice-captain of the team during the tour of Sri Lanka.

Prithvi Shaw has earned a call-up into the white-ball squad following his excellent form in IPL 2021 (308 runs) and Vijay Hazare Trophy (827 runs).

Opening batsmen Devdutt Padikkal and Ruturaj Gaikwad have also been named to the squad for the first time. Devdutt Padikkal (473 runs in IPL 2020 and 195 runs in IPL 2021) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (204 runs in IPL 2020 and 196 runs in IPL 2021) have been consistent since they debuted in IPL 2020 at UAE.

Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan - SPORTZPICS
Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan – SPORTZPICS

Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana have also found a place for themselves in the squad. Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson are the two wicket keepers who have been included in the squad. Nitish Rana had scored above 300 runs in every edition since IPL 2017 and managed 201 runs in 7 games in IPL 2021.

Chetan Sakariya Included For First Time In 20 Man Squad

Varun Chakravarthy, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham have been chosen as the spinners while the young speedster, Chetan Sakariya who impressed everyone in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 where he picked 7 wickets in as many games for Rajasthan Royals has also earned a place in the squad.

Chetan Sakariya Photo Credit: (IPL)
Chetan Sakariya Photo Credit: (IPL)

Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, K Gowtham and Chetan Sakariya got maiden India call-ups. Yuzvendra Chahal will lead the spin department and will have support from the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, and Varun Chakravarthy. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will spearhead the pace attack with support from the likes of Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, and Chetan Sakariya.

The schedule for the three-match ODI series and three-match T20I series between India and Sri Lanka was confirmed earlier this week. The three ODIs will be played on July 13, 16, and 18. While the T20I series will commence on July 21, and the next two matches will be played on July 23 and 25.

None of India’s players who are a part of the travelling group for the World Test Championship final and the England Test series will be part of the Sri Lanka series. Former India skipper and current National Cricket Academy (NCA) head Rahul Dravid is set to coach the Indian limited-overs team that will play the six-game series against Sri Lanka in July.

India’s squad: Shikhar Dhawan (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (Wicket-keeper), Sanju Samson (Wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Vice-captain), Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya

Net Bowlers: Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh

Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid - K. MURALI KUMAR
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Rahul Dravid Will Travel As India’s Head Coach For 3 T20Is And As Many ODIs For Sri Lanka Tour

Rahul Dravid will travel as India head coach for the six-game white-ball tour of Sri Lanka in July. Apart from Rahul Dravid, the coaching staff will consist of members of Rahul Dravid’s team from the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

The Indian white-ball team that will travel to Sri Lanka has been assured of at least one week’s preparation time before the opening fixture – the first ODI on July 13.

Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI

Rahul Dravid To Coach India’s Limited Overs Team In Tour To Sri Lanka

The BCCI initially thought of hosting a camp in Bangalore, but the worsening Covid-19 situation in India which has resulted in continued lockdown has ruled out that possibility. A source connected with the tour has revealed that the touring party will have quarantine before departure in India and is preparing to undergo isolation, if needed, on arrival in Sri Lanka too, depending on the bio-protocols in the island.

Rahul Dravid, former India skipper, and current National Cricket Academy (NCA) head will coach the Indian limited-overs team that will play a six-game series (3 T20Is, 3 ODIs) against Sri Lanka in July. This will be Rahul Dravid’s second stint with the Indian team after working with the Men in Blue as a batting consultant during the England tour in 2014.

Indian Cricket Team
Indian Cricket Team. Image Credits: Twitter

As of Tuesday (June 8), the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health guidelines states that one-day quarantine is needed for the fully vaccinated people from India, Vietnam, South African, and South American countries. These rules are applicable up to June 30. The guidelines, as per the order, could change after June 30 and different rules may be in place by the time the Indian team leaves for Sri Lanka. Different rules may also apply for those who have had only one dose of vaccination.

Production of pre-departure negative RT-PCR test would be needed on arrival, followed by a negative test result after a day’s stay at the hotel. The BCCI had previously advised players to take their vaccinations, but how many of them can complete both the doses on time before departure remains to be seen.

Shikhar Dhawan May Be Assigned Captaincy As Shreyas Iyer’s Availability Uncertain

As for the make-up of the Indian squad, there’s no immediate information on the date of the selection committee meeting, though it is expected to take place soon. Shikhar Dhawan could be handed captaincy, while Shreyas Iyer’s availability is still uncertain.

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer. Getty Images

While Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar look certain to be included in the Indian side, speculations are rife over who all are going to be included in the side. Young guns like Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, N Jagadeesan, and Chetan Sakariya might get rewarded for a good show in the IPL 2020-2021 while Suryakumar Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Ishan Kishan are likely to retain their spots.

The three ODIs will be played from July 13 onwards and the T20Is will take place from July 21. The ODIs will take place on July 13, 16, and 18 while the T20Is will be played on July 21, 23, and 25. The venue for the games will be R Premadasa Stadium at Colombo.

It will be a rare occasion when two Indian squads will be playing in different countries at the same time. The Virat Kohli-led side will be preparing for the five-match Test series against England at the same time. The Test squad is already in the UK for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand from June 18 while the England series begins on August 4.

Squad Contenders To Choose From- Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer (subject to fitness), Devdutt Paddikal, N Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Tewatia, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Navdeep Saini, Kartik Tyagi, Ravi Bishnoi, Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan, Rahul Chahar, Chetan Sakariya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed, Jaydev Unadkat, Harshal Patel

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)
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Suryakumar Yadav Is The Batsman To Watch Out For In 3 ODIs And As Many T20Is vs Sri Lanka, Says MSK Prasad

MSK Prasad, former India chief selector believes the 30-year-old Mumbai batsman Suryakumar Yadav can make a big impact in the upcoming limited-overs series in Sri Lanka. India is set to play three ODIs and three T20Is starting July 13th against Sri Lanka.

But with Virat Kohli-led Test squad away in England, India is expected to send a squad of fringe players to Sri Lanka for the limited-overs series. So, MSK Prasad believes that players like Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, and Sanju Samson, who have been excellent in the IPL, can make a great impact in the series.

MSK Prasad
MSK Prasad (Getty Images)

MSK Prasad Feels Standby For England, Avesh Khan Will Be Unfortunate If He Miss Out On Playing Either Series

MSK Prasad also praised Delhi Capitals fast bowler Avesh Khan, who has been named as a standby in the UK tour, and said it would be unfortunate if the pacer misses both the series.

“Suryakumar Yadav is the guy to watch out for. Ishan and Sanju also have a great opportunity at hand. I would have also loved to see Avesh Khan (named standby for the UK tour). He has been excellent in the IPL, and it would be unfortunate to see him miss out on playing in either series,” Prasad told Sportstar.

Avesh Khan has been instrumental in Delhi Capitals’ early success in IPL 2021. Image: BCCI
Avesh Khan has been instrumental in Delhi Capitals’ early success in IPL 2021. Image: BCCI

While Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar look certain to be included in the Indian side, speculations are rife over who all are going to be included in the side. Young guns like Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, N Jagadeesan, and Chetan Sakariya might get rewarded for a good show in the IPL 2020-2021 while Suryakumar Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Ishan Kishan are likely to retain their spots.

Avesh Khan was a find of IPL 2021 for picking 14 wickets in 8 games and being 2nd highest wicket-taker before IPL 2021 was suspended for a surge in Covid-19 cases.

MSK Prasad: Confidence Level Of Modern Cricketers Is High An Example Being Suryakumar Yadav’s First Ball Six On Debut

MSK Prasad further on to went explain how the youngster of today’s generation is differentiating themselves from the players from the bygone era.

“The skill level back then was similar to what we have now. But the confidence levels of the boys today are five times more than what we had then,” Prasad said.

“Simple example: first ball, Suryakumar Yadav, gets an opportunity to play in a T20I game, smashes one of the best bowlers in the world for a six. Or Ishan Kishan, the way he blasted the opposition (England) on debut.”

He went on to make a bold prediction.

“I won’t be surprised if this young squad wins the series in Sri Lanka,” Prasad signed off.

Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan were given their debut caps ahead of India's second T20I against England in Ahmedabad on Sunday. - SPORTZPICS
Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan. SPORTZPICS.

Suryakumar Yadav has so far played two T20I innings. He has scored 89 runs at an average of 44.50 and a strike rate of 185.41. He kicked off his international career with a magnificent six against English speedster Jofra Archer.

Suryakumar Yadav has scored 512, 424, and 484 runs respectively in the last three seasons for Mumbai Indians and played a key role in them winning two titles. Ishan Kishan, another Mumbai Indians batsman scored 56 runs off just 32 balls while Suryakumar Yadav did not get a chance to bat in the 2nd T20I match where both batsmen debuted.

Suryakumar Yadav got the chance to bat in the fourth T20I and went on to score 57 runs from 31 deliveries before scoring a rapid 32 off 17 balls in the series decider T20I and was inducted in the ODI squad.

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