The Sri Lanka limited-overs is a crucial tour for a lot of players building up to the T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman later this year. While it provides valuable game time for the seniors who have been off-colour lately or had struggled with injuries, the new wave of talents are presented with a chance to prove their credentials at the highest level. Here are members of the squad who might make a strong case for a place in the limited-overs set-up.
It has been a transformational year for Prithvi Shaw who, after being dropped after the first Test in Australia, set batting charts ablaze in the Vijay Hazare Trophy with 827 runs in eight innings which included four hundreds and a fifty. His fine run continued in the first leg of IPL 2021 where he was the fourth-highest scorer with 308 runs from eight innings at a strike rate of 166.48. There were a lot questions surrounding his attitude and technique to which Shaw has replied with assured performances. Though he has played just three ODIs so far, his familiarity with the national team set-up will add to his responsibilities among multiple rookies. With his confidence sky-high, the Mumbai opener will be raring to make his ODI return after 17 months and his T20I debut against a troubled Sri Lankan side.
The BCCI considering Devdutt Padikkal as one of the replacements for an injured Shubman Gill for England Tests speaks volumes about his meteoric rise. The Karnataka left-hander has been in the spotlight over the past two years following his IPL debut with Royal Challengers Bangalore, for whom he has scored 668 runs in 21 matches so far and is currently the second-highest run-scorer in List-A cricket this year with 737 runs from seven matches. Besides being a technically-sound batsman, Padikkal possesses the situational awareness to pace his innings which amplifies India’s competition in the top-order. With the T20 World Cup on the horizon, the team management will be looking at his performances closely.
After making his List-A debut for Jharkhand as a 15-year old in 2014, Ishan Kishan transitioned to the grand stage of IPL with Gujarat Lions in 2017. However, the keeper-batsman’s development after that has been gradual as he proved himself as a reliable performer for Mumbai Indians. Kishan was the top scorer for MI in their title-winning 2020 season with 516 runs at an average of 57.33 which earned him his T20I debut against England where he struck five fours and four sixes on his way to a 32-ball 56. The left-hander’s eagerness to go big from the first ball adds another dimension to India’s batting attack.
Ruturaj Gaikwad has been one of the stars of Chennai Super Kings’ excellent form in the IPL 2021 first leg as he scored 196 runs from seven games and received his maiden international call-up. Gaikwad had shown in the IPL that he can be effective in sub-continental conditions with his nimble footwork and wide range of shots required for the short format. Having toured with India-A previously, the 24-year old also has the experience of facing some of the current Sri Lankan bowlers.
Chetan Sakariya has been the find of IPL 2021 as the pacer was among the few bright spots for Rajasthan Royals with seven wickets from as many matches. He was also the best bowler for Saurashtra in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with 12 wickets from five matches and earned his maiden call-up for the Sri Lanka series. The left-arm pacer has been primarily looked as a T20 bowler with his ability to move the new ball both ways and the time spent with experienced campaigners of the Indian team would help him immensely. Even though there are facets of his game that need work, Sakariya’s promotion to the international level in quick time shows that he is in the selectors’ future plans.