Chance For Fringe Players to Make a Statement – SportsMediaz

India’s fringe players including a struggling Ruturaj Gaikwad and Sanju Samson will get another chance to prove themselves before the return of the seniors when Hardik Pandya marks his much-anticipated International captaincy debut against a star-struck Ireland in a two-match T20 series, beginning here on Sunday.

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With Rishabh Pant joining the the Test side in England, Pandya was appointed the stand-in skipper after his heroics in leading Gujarat Titans to IPL 2022 triumph in their debut season. Pant stood in as skipper in their last T20I series at home against South Africa after KL Rahul pulled out due to a groin injury.

What: India vs Ireland, 1st T20I

When: June 26, 2022 (Sunday)

Where: The Village, Dublin

Time: 9 PM IST

India Team News

India have been forced to hand the captaincy duties to too many players due to injuries, scheduling issues and workload management over the past 24 months. Hardik joins that list for the one-off Ireland series and expectations will be high from him after his exploits with the Gujarat Titans.

NCA chief VVS Laxman, who will be filling in for India head coach Rahul Dravid in the short-series with the latter overseeing the Test team’s preparations in England, is expected to follow the template set by his former teammate.

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The two games will give the think tank more clarity on identifying the core group of players for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year and the team for the three games against a strong England next month.

In the home series against South Africa, Dravid displayed his stable approach and retained the side in all five games despite losing first two games. The Pant-led side bounced back to level 2-2 before the fifth match was washed out.

With Pant and Shreyas Iyer joining the Test squad in the UK, the series opens a window for the likes of Sanju Samson and Deepak Hooda.

It could well be a make or break situation for Samson who has not been able establish himself in the T20 set up despite getting many opportunities.

Returning from a wrist injury, Suryakumar Yadav will walk back into the playing eleven and he is likely to bat at number three or four.

Ishan Kishan made a strong case for the reserve opener’s slot with his consistent run against South Africa and he will be looking to build on that success.

The pressure will be on his opening partner Gaikwad, who looked in discomfort against high-quality fast bowling in the previous series.

India’s pace sensation Umran Malik and yorker-specialist Arshdeep Singh, who patiently warmed the bench against South Africa, could get their big break with the conditions expected to favour the fast bowlers.

Ireland Team News

With the due respect, Ireland are not expected to push India to the limit like South Africa did, giving the visitors more freedom to experiment. For Irish players, the series against the mighty India presents them an opportunity to attract global attention.

Uncapped Stephen Doheny and Conor Olphert have earned maiden call-ups in the squad led by Andrew Balbirnie, who feels India remain a very strong outfit despite the absence of senior players including Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah.

“Nowadays, any Indian team you play is going to be a good team. It kind of shows the depth of Indian cricket that they can put out two teams. We couldn’t do that – there’s no way we could put out a Test team and a T20 team at the same time, we just don’t have the numbers for that, ” Balbirnie said ahead of the series opener.

Full Squads

India: Hardik Pandya (captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik.

Ireland: Andrew Balbirnie (captain), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Stephen Doheny, Josh Little, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Conor Olphert, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Craig Young.

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