Hardik's India start favourites against Asian Champions Sri Lanka

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Hardik will lead India once again in the T20Is.
Hardik will lead India once again in the T20Is. © AFP

The overview

Scheduling a T20 bilateral series at the beginning of a 50-over World Cup year might not necessarily make sense but one can discern the logic -- that it could be based on commercial expediency rather than cricketing efficacy. Whether the FTP could have been better planned is debatable but a regulator's prior commitments to its broadcasters cannot be overlooked. The importance of revenue generation can never be overstated.

Regardless of the commercial commitments, the series still cannot be placed in the category of irrelevance. A new captain and a young experimental side are a work in progress and the Indian team management has a lot to study and strategize on. The planning for the next T20 World Cup, scheduled for 2024, can start with the three-match series against Sri Lanka and in the one that follows, against New Zealand later this month.

Given that the tournament is over 18 months away, the series also could serve the purpose of role identification for the players and the captain and coach can watch how each player reacts to different situations and executes the jobs assigned. It can also test Hardik Pandya's captaincy, which was hotly discussed before it was recently confirmed. In short, the series can set the pathway for the team's collective metabolism.

Theoretically, the India-Sri Lanka T20I series starting on Monday is a mismatch between the No 1 and No 8 sides. Statistically also, India are overwhelming favourites with a 15-4 head-to-head record in the bilateral games and at home, they enjoy a staggering 11-2 lead. Sri Lanka also have never won a T20I bilateral series in India.

However, the Dasun Shanaka-led team won the Asia Cup a few months ago beating a full-strength Indian side en route to the final in UAE. Consider that triumph came out of the blue, nothing can be taken for granted in this format and the Sri Lankans are also hopeful of getting a feel of the conditions they will be presented with later this year for the 50-over World Cup.

When: January 3, 2023 at 7 PM local time

Where: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

What to expect: As we have seen over the years, the conditions are usually favourable for the chasing side at the Wankhede with the dew coming into the picture. Moderate temperatures are expected during the game.

Team News


India will have to take a call on Ishan Kishan's opening partner. They do have quite a few options. Shivam Mavi and Mukesh Kumar may have to wait to make their debut.

Probable XI- Ishan Kishan (WK), Ruturaj Gaikwad/Shubman Gill, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Hardik Pandya (C), Washington Sundar, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh

Sri Lanka

Avishka Fernando and Sadeera Samarawickrama are back in the frame but finding a spot for both of them could prove to be difficult.

Probable XI- Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (WK), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dasun Shanaka (C), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara, Pramod Madushan/Dilshan Madushanka

Did you know?

Sri Lanka have never won a bilateral series against India in India.

Wanindu Hasaranga has dismissed Sanju Samson six times in 34 balls across seven innings in all T20s.

Yuzvendra Chahal has enjoyed good success against Sri Lanka picking 20 wickets in ten T20Is against them at an average of 15.65.

What they said:

"They took the game away in the Asia Cup, so all the players who took the game away are the players I'm looking for to stop them, to make sure that they don't take the game away from us. They are a very exciting team, you can see a lot of emotion also is there because obviously what happened in the past in the country and that gave them more motivation to go out there and be in a zone that they're ready to do anything and everything possible." - Indian captain Hardik Pandya

"With India hosting the World Cup (in 2023), the team can know what to expect in India in the World Cup and will have been accustomed to the conditions, crowds, and other factors." - Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka