High on confidence after beating Sri Lanka 2-1 in the recently concluded ODI series, the Men in Blue would look to end 2017 on a high when they play the visitors in the first of the three-match T20 series in Cuttack on Wednesday.
The hosts shall once again be without their seasoned skipper Virat Kohli who is out on a short break after his marriage. Rohit Sharma's captaincy skills shall once again be put to the fore in the shortest form.
Team India would have a good opportunity to try out its bench strength. The likes of Washington Sundar, Basil Thampi and Deepak Hooda who have proved their mantle in the IPL and first-class cricket would look to make an impression in their international outing against the Lankans.
In the pace department, death bowling specialist Jasprit Bumrah will lead the seam attack after Bhuvneshwar Kumar was rested ahead of the South Africa series. Kerala pacer Thampi has shown his ability to bowl Yorkers with consistency during his Gujarat Lions stint in the IPL. Meanwhile, Saurashtra left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat, who last played in a T20I against Zimbabwe in June last year has made it back to the Indian team.
In the absence of Virat Kohli, India’s batting will be heavily dependent on skipper Sharma, who will have KL Rahul for the company at the top. A good start will be crucial for India to minimise the workload on the middle and lower order, which will be steered by Dhoni whose ability was doubted in the series against New Zealand.
India didn't have to toil too hard to clinch the one-day series 2-1 and Rohit Sharma and Co. will look to seal the T20I series on a perfect note.