Preview: Sri Lanka in India, 1st T20, Pune

Here we go again.

India against Sri Lanka .

While they have played quite a bit of test cricket against each other, the last time these two teams played a T20 was the final of the World T20 in 2014. We all know how that turned out for India and for Yuvraj in particular.

The reigning World T20 champion team now wears a very different look. No Malinga, Sanga, Mahela or Angelo. Dilshan is injured and will miss the first game.

That means lots of new faces for Sri Lanka. Their mercurial keeper (and now captain) Chandimal and old warhorse Dilhara Fernando will be key. But do they have yet another mystery spinner up their sleeve? Do they have another Slinga? Sri Lanka has the habit of springing nasty surprises on India (remember the 1996 World Cup)?

India will be looking to finalise their combinations for the World T20. Will be interesting to see how Hardik Pandya goes. His competition will be Pawan Negi but given India already have a left arm spinner in Jadeja, Dhoni is more likely to play Pandya to start with. Bumrah will be looking to build on his good showing down under.

Suspect Rahane will slot in instead of Kohli at number 3 but I would really like to see Manish Pandey come in instead. While Rahane is a fantastic test player, Manish Pandey showed in the last ODI in Australia what he is capable of. Pandey will also be disappointed to have missed out on a spot in the World T20 squad and will be looking to prove that the selectors got that one wrong.

The number 1 ranking in T20s will be also be a stake in this series, adding a nice edge to proceedings.

Going into a World T20 in a month or so, maintaining India’s winning streak will be on top of Dhoni’s to-do list.

India go in as clear favourites but they won’t be taking the Lankans lightly.

Here we go again.

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