India, who have a great mix of talented players, won the last T20 series they played, 2-1 against Australia on Aussie soil last December. With a few new faces in the squad – namely Suryakymar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Tewatia – India would be looking to produce an encore against England at home.
On the other hand battered and bruised England, under the leadership of Eoin Morgan, will try to bounce back hard in the slam bang version of the game after getting battered in the longest format 3-1. The white-ball series kicks off with a five-match T20I series in Ahmedabad from March 12 to 20, followed by a three match ODI series in Pune.
As we count down to the T20I series, which begins on Friday, TimsofIndia.com looks at the top five Indian batsmen who can pose a big threat to the English T20 side, which is a completely different kettle of fish as compared to their Test team:
The Indian skipper, who is the all-time highest scorer in the shortest format of the game (2928 runs in 79 innings), is surely one of the big guns to watch out for in the upcoming series. Kohli might have been dismissed for a couple of ducks in the Tests vs England, but you can expect one of the most prolific players of this generation to go after the English bowlers from the word go in the shortest format.
Kohli, who is yet to score a ton in T20Is, is due for a big score. The hungry Kohli scored 134 runs in the three games played against Australia last year in the T20I series with 85 being his best in the final T20I, albeit in a losing cause.
Overall, the Indian run-machine has scored 2928 runs, averaging more than 50, in the 85 T20I matches he has played so far in the shortest format of the game and will definitely be the player to watch out for, especially since his ability to finish a game is perhaps second to none.
Virat T20I career stats: M 85 | R 2928 | HS 94* | Ave 50.48 | SR 138.43 | 25x50s | 81 sixes
Virat T20I stats vs England: M 12 | R 346 | HS 66 | Ave 31.45 | SR 130.56 | 1x50s | 7 sixes
The incredibly talented Rohit Sharma, who is in really good touch, after scoring a Test century and a fifty against England on challenging tracks, is all set to get into the T20 avatar.
Rohit, in white ball cricket is perhaps the most dangerous batsman in world cricket. The Indian vice-captain, who is currently sitting in third place on the all-time highest run getters list in T20 cricket, behind Virat and Martin Guptill, is one of the cleanest hitters in international cricket.
The ‘Hitman’ has played 108 T20Is for India, scoring 2,773 runs at an average of 32.62, with 4 T20I hundreds – the most overall, and 21 half-centuries to his name. With a strike rate of 138.78, Rohit is a threat for any opposition in the world.
Rohit, who had missed the white-ball formats in Australia due to an injury and a mandatory quarantine, will surely be a key batsman for India in the upcoming series.
Rohit T20I career stats: M 108 | R 2773 | HS 118 | Ave 32.62 | SR 138.78 | 4x100s | 21x50s | 127 sixes
Rohit T20I stats vs England: M 8 | R 226 | HS 100* | Ave 45.20 | SR 143.03 | 1x100s | 1x50s | 8 sixes
‘Gabbar’, as Shikhar Dhawan is popularly called, will be quite eager to make his mark after an ordinary Australia limited-overs series. It’s been a more than three month break for Dhawan in international cricket, but of late he’s been in the news in the domestic circuit.
Turning up for Delhi, Dhawan recently scored a masterful 153 against Maharashtra in the Vijay Hazare Trophy (50-over format) and played quite a few good knocks for the state in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy.
The marauding left-hander has so far played 64 T20Is, scoring 1669 runs at an average of 28.28 with 92 being the highest. Dhawan would certainly look to make amends against England in home conditions after scoring just 81 runs, which included one half-century, in the three T20I matches he played against Australia last year.
Dhawan will be itching to put his best foot forward against the Englishmen as young KL Rahul’s rise as a potent white-ball specialist has spiced up the competition for the opening slot in the Indian team and with this year’s T20 World Cup being held in India, he would certainly be looking to cement his place in the Indian squad for the quadrennial event. Dhawan might not be an assured starter in the T20I series, but if he does find a place in the playing XI, he will be a player to watch out for precisely because he will have a point or two to prove about him belonging in the first XI.
Dhawan T20I career stats: M 64 | R 1669 | HS 92 | Ave 28.28 | SR 128.28 | 11x50s | 49 sixes
Dhawan T20I stats vs England: M 4 | R 52 | HS 33 | Ave 13.00 | SR 110.63 | 2 sixes
The young and energetic Pant has made a roaring comeback into the Indian team after putting up a fantastic show against England in the longer version of the game.
Pant, who has not played a white-ball game since January 2020, was dropped from the ODI and T20I squads for the Australia tour last year. But the 23-year-old didn’t get bogged down with his omission from the limited-overs squads. He turned his adversity into opportunity by playing a match-winning unbeaten knock of 89 in the last Test against Australia in Brisbane and continued his good run with another match-winning century against England in the fourth and final Test in Ahmedabad.
He has also silenced some doubting Thomases who have been consistently pointing fingers at his wicket-keeping skills, with some solid glove work behind the stumps against England.
Pant has so far represented India in 28 T20Is, scoring just 410 runs at an average of 20.50 with 65* being the highest. But he is not the kind of player who can be judged with his average or scores, as he can turn the match in his team’s favour with a blitzkrieg of a knock lower down the order.
Pant T20I career stats: M 28 | R 410 | HS 65* | Ave 20.50 | SR 121.66 | 2x50s | 18 sixes
Pant T20I stats vs England: M 1 | R 5 | HS 5* | Ave — | SR 166.66
The extremely talented and prolific Suryakumar Yadav has finally been rewarded for his consistency after he earned a maiden India call-up for the upcoming T20 series against England.
Suryakumar, who was overlooked for the limited-overs matches in Australia late last year despite scoring 480 runs in IPL 2020 for Mumbai Indians, must have surely been gutted for not being considered, but he continued to toil hard in the domestic circuit to make his presence felt.
And those performances made the selectors carve out space for him in the Indian squad. Suryakumar knocked on the doors of the Indian team with brilliant knocks for Mumbai in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. His scores read – 50, 29, 133, 29, and 91 in the five matches he played in the tournament.
A seasoned T20 campaigner, Suryakumar has played 170 career T20s so far – while representing India A, India B, India Blue, India C, India Red, India U-23s, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai and Mumbai Indians over the years – and scored 3567 runs at an average of 31.56, with 94* being his best score.
It won’t be an easy road for him as he will have to fight it out for a spot in the middle-order with the likes of Rahul and statemate Shreyas Iyer. The 30-year-old will be keen to make this opportunity count and try and prove that he should be a first choice pick come the T20 World Cup later this year.
Suryakumar career T20 stats: M 170 | R 3567 | HS 94* | Ave 31.56 | SR 140.10 | 19x50s | 116 sixes