India will begin their new year 2023 with a limited-overs series against T20 Asia Cup champions Sri Lanka. The series will have three T20Is and three ODIs beginning with the first of the T20Is which will be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on January 3, 2023.
Hardik Pandya will once again captain the Indian team in absence of Rohit Sharma, while KL Rahul and Virat Kohli have been rested for the T20Is. Pandya had won both of the T20I series he has captained India in, with the first win coming in Ireland and then the second one recently against New Zealand.
This Sri Lanka T20I series is being seen as the re-birth of the Indian team in the format after the disappointing T20 World Cup 2022 outcome and focus has been put on the youngsters with reports suggesting that seniors have been asked to focus on ODIs this year as it is a 50-over World Cup year.
WATCH: Dravid, Hardik and other members of India squad share heartwarming messages for 'fighter' Rishabh Pant
Keeping this in mind, here is the COC predicted Team India Playing XI for the first T20I.
With Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul both being rested from the T20I series, chances are up for grabs in the top order. India has the option to choose from Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Rahul Tripathi.
With Ishan coming off an amazing double-century in DOIs against Bangladesh, one spot is expected to be taken by him. For the other opening spot, Shubman Gill might be preferred over Tripathi and Gaikwad given that he has been playing for India regularly since last year.
Suryakumar Yadav is expected to be at the no.3 spot with either Sanju Samson or Deepak Hooda batting at no.4. Even Hardik Pandya might move to the no.4 spot with the middle order to be a bit flexible if the openers give a brilliant start.
Expect only two spinners to be picked in the XI with all-rounders Washington Sundar and Akshar Patel being seen as the first-choice tweakers, especially given the possibility of dew, which means leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal might be benched for this one.
IND v SL 2023: Umran Malik will get enough opportunities, support and backing to flourish- Hardik Pandya
As for the pacers, Arshdeep Singh might lead the bowling attack with Harshal Patel and the pace of Umran Malik which will rattle the Sri Lankan batting.
Add Deepak Hooda and himself to the mix, and Hardik Pandya will have seven bowling options to choose from.
COC Predicted Team India Playing XI for 1st T20I:
Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav (VC), Deepak Hooda, Hardik Pandya (c), Sanju Samson (wk), Washington Sundar, Akshar Patel, Harshal Patel, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh