And they’re back! Team India, after a thoroughly exciting IPL, are all back together and all set to roar. With the T20 World Cup looming, and all eyes on the Indian team, the home series with SA comes as a bit of a rehearsal before the drama on the big stage. Team India goes into the T20 series with South Africa with KL Rahul as the captain. The inclusion of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who recently won his first IPL trophy as captain with the debutant team Gujarat Titans, is a great addition to the team. Here are some things to watch out for during the series :
1) Captaincy of KL Rahul
With official captain Rohit Sharma being rested, the reigns of the team have been handed over to vice-captain KL Rahul. He is not new to captaincy, having recently led the fresher team Lucknow franchise to the playoffs of the IPL. This shows his masterclass as a captain and it would be with optimistic eyes that his fans would be looking. The BCCI too will probably have their fingers crossed, for the team might soon need a new, young captain.
2) Uncapped pacers
This season of the IPL was filled with surprise entries, especially when it came to bowlers. With Umran Malik hurling balls at 157 kmph and Avesh Khan being able to make experienced batsmen play defensively, India found new gems hidden in the dirt. This series has given these youngsters a chance to prove their mettle. It’s worth a watch to see if the blue shirt suits them.
3) The Dynamic Kul-Cha duo –
The Gods have answered our prayers! The duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are back, but this time, they face a giant hurdle in front of them as more and more young spinners line up to steal their crown. The duo has had some of the most successful stints in Indian cricketing history, but whether or not they’ll continue remains to be seen. If they wish to play the T20 World Cup this year, they’ll have to pass the SA challenge.
4) The test of Team India’s veterans
India has seen a lot of episodes in the past where a few dominant and well-set players refused to step down and let the younger generation come in, despite losing games for their side due to their advanced age. But ever since the advent of MS Dhoni, things have changed. Team India is now ready to chug out any player deemed unfit to play, influential or not. Players like Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik will be watched very closely by the selectors and it’s up to them to make sure they remain in the spotlight. They’ve both had an incredible IPL with DK finishing matches for RCB in ways never seen before and Kung-Fu leading the new team to victory in their maiden IPL, all the whole playing a captain’s knock throughout the season. Let’s hope they’re able to keep up the stature in jersey blue.
5) World Cup call, eyes on Team India
The most important aspect for the selectors here is going to be the T20 World Cup in Australia, which is less than 6 months away. Despite having a thunderous batting lineup consisting of Rohit, Kohli, and Rahul, backed by the lethal bowling strength of Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar, and Shami, Team India lost horribly last year to arch-rivals Pakistan and then to New Zealand, hence rendering them unable to qualify for the semis. The team would want to change that as convincingly as possible and a lot of it depends on how this series goes.
There is a lot at stake for the future of team India in this series. Whatever the results may be, they’re sure going to be fun!