2020 Vision

HYDERABAD:The likes of KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant will be aiming to cement their places in the squad as India continue auditions for next year’s T20 World Cup, taking on West Indies in a three-match T20 series starting here tomorrow.

2020 Vision

Captain Virat Kohli during a training session ahead of the first T20I against West Indies in Hyderabad. AFP


Hyderabad, December 5

The likes of KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant will be aiming to cement their places in the squad as India continue auditions for next year’s T20 World Cup, taking on West Indies in a three-match T20 series starting here tomorrow.

With next year’s T20 World Cup less than 11 months away, players who are yet to cement their place in the squad will be keen to make a mark against West Indies. Among them is Rahul, who has been around for several years and is no longer a youngster. With the injured senior opener Shikhar Dhawan absent, Rahul gets a chance to secure his place as Rohit Sharma’s opening partner.

Another player who would like to answer his critics with solid performances is Pant. Pant has been criticised in recent times due to his inconsistent batting and poor shot selection, and also poor wicketkeeping.

Pant was seen as the successor to MS Dhoni, but after the World Cup this year, he has endured a slump in form and was heavily criticised for throwing his wicket away several times. He has got Test 100s in Australia and England, but due to his inadequate glovework, he was dropped from the Test team and Wriddhiman Saha brought back in.

Samson’s chance

With the selectors bringing in the talented Sanju Samson in the squad, Pant must perform or there is a chance that he could lose his place in the squad. This series is huge for Samson, too. Although he was named in the T20 squad against Bangladesh, the Kerala man didn’t get a single opportunity in that series and was picked up for the West Indies series only after Dhawan sustained a knee injury. In case Pant fails again, Samson could get the opportunity he so richly deserves. Virat Kohli, back to lead the side after taking a break in the T20 series against Bangladesh, would keep a close watch on both Pant and Samson.

Comeback men

On the bowling front, the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are returning to the T20 setup. The duo of Yadav and Chahal will reunite after a long time — Yadav last featured in the shortest format in February 2019 against New Zealand. The pace attack looks menacing with the return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. Shami is back in the T20I team after two years. Deepak Chahar, who did very well against Bangladesh, is expected to play a role alongside Shami and Bhuvneshwar.

Revenge on mind

West Indies would be looking for revenge after being dismantled 3-0 by India in their own backyard in August. They are the T20 world champions and can beat any team on their day. They are already acclimatised to the conditions in India, having played Afghanistan in a full series in Lucknow. Having been entrusted with captaincy, Kieron Pollard will look to lead from the front. With Nicholas Pooran ruled out of the first match because of a four-match ban for ball-tampering, the onus would be on Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Shimron Hetmyer to power their batting line-up.

The visitors have quite a few new faces in the team — such as Brandon King, Khary Pierre, Sherfane Rutherford, Keserick Williams and Hayden Walsh Jr. — PTI

GS Lakshmi to become first woman referee to oversee a men’s ODI 

Dubai: Former India cricketer GS Lakshmi is set to become the first woman match referee to oversee a men’s ODI when she officiates the opening match of the third series of the World Cup League 2 in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday. Lakshmi will oversee the match between the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. This is the second significant achievement for Lakshmi this year, following her appointment as the first woman on to the ICC International Panel of Match Referees in May. The 51-year old, who first officiated as a match referee in Indian domestic women’s matches in 2008-09, has now overseen three women’s ODIs, 16 men’s T20Is and seven women’s T20Is. “It feels great, having anything assigned first to your name, gives me a sense of pride,” Lakshmi said. — PTI

Third umpire to call front-foot no-balls in Ind-WI series 

Hyderabad: Front foot no-balls in the T20I and ODI series between India and the West Indies will be decided by the third umpire and not the on-field officials. The ICC will put to trial the technology to call front foot no-balls in this series. “If there is an infringement of the front foot, the third umpire will communicate this to the on-field umpire, who will subsequently call a no-ball,” an ICC statement said. “As a result, the on-field umpire will not call a front foot no-ball without the advice of the third umpire.” The decision to make the third umpire the adjudicator of front foot no-balls was taken in August this year. The system was first trialled in the ODI series between England and Pakistan in 2016. ICC decided to test it again after its Cricket Committee recommended its use in as many limited-overs matches as possible. — PTI

162.60 Average first-innings total for T20Is at Hyderabad since January 2018 

47.75Average runs per wicket for Bhuvneshwar Kumar at the ground since IPL 2018 

1ST Time since 2015, India have averaged more sixes per T20I than WI in a year. In 2019, India have averaged 6.46 T20I sixes per game while WI have averaged 5 sixes per game


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