After the successful 2-0 win over Ireland, Team India will now move on and face a red-hot England team in a series of 3 T20I matches starting July 3. The three matches will be played at Manchester on July 3, Cardiff on July 6 and Bristol on July 8.
England is coming off wins in five ODIs and one T20I against Australia at home and the victories in those matches were dominant, even scoring a record 481 runs in one of the ODI matches. India knows the dangers of England team’s batting and bowling and needs to bring their best team combination to face a formidable opponent.
Therefore Circle of Cricket looks at the best Team India playing XI to take on the England team in the 3 matches T20I series.
The best batting combination for India should be Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan as openers. Both of them took Ireland to the cleaners in the first T20I match. Shikhar Dhawan was particularly severe on the Irish bowlers and he loves batting in English conditions, thanks to his previous sojourns in the Champions Trophy tournament in 2013 and 2017.
The same tournament in 2013 was a career-changing move for Rohit Sharma as well since he was made to open the innings by MS Dhoni and it made him one of the best ODI openers in the world. His T20I career is also brilliant, with two centuries including the joint fastest of the format internationally.
Then there are the options of two of the most talented cricketers to bat at no.3. KL Rahul has proved his worth in the shortest format, becoming the fastest Indian to score centuries in all the three international formats. He got an opportunity to play for India after a long time in T20Is and scored a brilliant 70.
The other option is the batsman who was the first Indian to score centuries in all the three international formats- Suresh Raina. Raina has been on a comeback trail and has done brilliantly, scoring a half-century against Ireland.
Virat Kohli will definitely lead the team against England and has much to prove in English conditions and his two low scores against Ireland put a big question mark over his current form.
MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya will play the role of finishers for Team India and both showed in the IPL what they are capable of. Dhoni has got back his mojo of the old times and is hitting sixes at will. There was already no doubt about the big-hitting abilities of Hardik Pandya. His 32* off 9 balls was a trailer of his abilities in the shortest format. Pandya has already shown what he can do in English conditions in the Champions Trophy 2017 against Pakistan.
On the bowling front, England was fortunate enough to face an Australian attack that was missing the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins.
But this will not be the case with Team India, as they will enter the arena with full strength bowling attack. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are rated as the best bowlers in the format, especially in the death overs. Facing them will be a tough ask for the English batting lineup that battered the Australian bowlers and inflicted severe trauma.
And then there will be the two spinning trump cards in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. These two bowlers troubled the England batsmen a lot in IPL 2018 and when the two join forces, they have been very successful even on surfaces which do not offer spin.
However, the three venues where the T20I matches are to be played offer something to the spinners and with Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid out bowling England’s quick bowling department; Chahal and Kuldeep will pose a bigger challenge to England batsmen as well.
It will also be a big exam for both wrist spinners as they will be up against some of the hardest and biggest hitters of the cricket ball in Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales, Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy and most dangerous of them all, Jos Buttler.
This Indian playing XI might be the best to take on a dangerous England side in the upcoming T20I series.
Ideal India playing XI for the England T20I series:
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), MS Dhoni (WK), Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal