Prime News, National and International Sport, Cricket, Guwahati (Assam), January 4:- India will kick off the New Year with three T20 Internationals against Sri Lanka from Sunday (Jan 5). The match would be followed by two more games – Indore (Jan 7) and Pune (Jan 10).
The opening match of the T20I series will be played at the ACA Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati at 7 pm.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka cricket team, lead by veteran pacer Lasith Malinga, arrived in Guwahati on Friday afternoon. Sri Lanka comes into the match on the back of a 3-0 whitewash against Australia in their last series.
Last time Sri Lanka visited Guwahati was in 1997 to play an ODI which was held at the Nehru Stadium. India won the tie by seven wickets.
Earlier, speaking to the Sri Lanka Cricket Board website just before the team’s departure from Colombo, captain Lasith Malinga said that his first plan is to win the series and for that bowlers have to play crucial role.
“Our first plan is to win the series and bowlers can play a very crucial role here. In this format, whether it is IPL or Big Bash, it is bowlers who can win matches. During this tour I want to give my bowlers an opportunity to further develop,” Malinga said.
“Our focus will now be on the forthcoming T20I World Cup. We don’t have too much time. We want to introduce new and talented players in the series and give them some time,” he added. The next T20I World Cup Cricket will be held in Australia in October.
India rounded off a successful 2019 with a limited over series win over the West Indies at home.
India will breathe easy with Jasprit Bumrah set to return to action for the first time since the West Indies tour last year. Bumrah was away with a back injury but has recovered completely and is set to play the T20Is against Sri Lanka and the ODIs against Australia. It’s no secret that India missed Bumrah badly in this format. West Indies exposed India’s weakness, scoring 207, 173/2 (18.3) and 173/8 in the three T20Is.
India had Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami as their senior pacers in that series, along with Deepak Chahar. They’ve now lost Bhuvneshwar and Chahar to injuries, while giving Shami a break, which means it’s a fairly fresh combination for the new year with Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur partnering Bumrah.
While all eyes will be on Bumrah, it’s also a great opportunity for Saini to make an impression given Chahar’s injury is not a minor one. Chahar had been consistent and was almost a definite starter in the T20I side, but the injury given another bowler a chance. The spinners struggled against West Indies too, but India have maintained consistency in selection by retaining all of them – Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.
It’s been 13 innings since he last made a T20I half-century. Dhawan’s strike-rate has been under the scanner too. His absence through injury in the previous series, against West Indies, provided KL Rahul a chance to make the opening spot his own, and the Karnataka batsman did just that. Now, with Rohit Sharma taking a break, Dhawan has an opportunity to make an impression.
Meanwhile, adequate security arrangements have been made by the administration to avert any disruption in view of anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protests in Assam. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)