The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly has confirmed that India will field a second-string side against Sri Lanka for the limited-overs series in July. Ganguly said the team will consist of ‘white-ball specialists’ and will be different from the one touring England in June-September.
As per a report in Cricinfo, the Virat Kohli-less Indian team will reach Sri Lanka on July 5. Three ODIs will be played on July 13, 16, and 19, followed by T20Is on July 22, 24, and 27. All the matches are set to take place in Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.
Although there is almost a month-long gap between the conclusion of WTC final and England Tests, the quarantine rules make it nearly impossible for the high-profile Indian players to be available for the white-ball matches in Sri Lanka.
With Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, R Ashwin, etc. being out of the equation from captaining India, we look at 3 new options who can lead the national side for the first time ever in the upcoming Lanka tour:
1. Shikhar Dhawan
The left-hander was in terrific form in the now-indefinitely postponed IPL and finished at the top in the race for the orange cap. He will be one of the senior players in the team and with not much experience left in the squad, it is time for him to take up the responsibility and lead the team in absence of Kohli and Rohit.
Not just this, Dhawan’s overall experience and ability to stay calm and positive at all times makes him a top contender to fill the void for Kohli and Rohit.
Here it is to be noted that Dhawan was named as India’s vice-captain in the Asia Cup 2018 edition, with Rohit taking charge. However, Dhawan wasn’t favoured when India were without Rohit (the regular white-ball vice-captain) for the 2020-21 limited-overs tour of Australia.
Dhawan has so far represented India in 142 ODIs and 65 T20Is, with 5,977 and 1,673 runs respectively.
2. KL Rahul
As we have mentioned above, Dhawan wasn’t appointed as Kohli’s deputy in Rohit’s absence for the 2020-21 limited-overs tour of Australia. It was Rahul who was preferred over the left-hander.
He has done really well in the limited over format and has also experience of leading the team as he leads Punjab Kings in the IPL. But he has been named in the Test squad and is scheduled to England if he clears the fitness test in time. But it will be a difficult task for him with his surgery recently and if he doesn’t travel to England, he could be the first choice for captaincy.
3. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar
He has not been picked in the Test squad, which was very surprising considering his experience in the English conditions and his ability to swing the ball. However, it has opened up an opportunity for him to become the leader of India in the Sri Lanka tour in the absence of senior players.
The wily pacer has led Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Kane Williamson’s absence in IPL 2019 and did a good job. He bowled really well in the previous series against England and showed that he can be the leader of the attack which makes a choice for the captaincy too. He has a total of 183 scalps in white-ball formats and his experience in Sri Lanka conditions can provide him a good opportunity to lead team India.