SL v IND 2021: Sanjay Manjrekar explains why Indian squad picked for Sri Lanka tour is not second-string

Shikhar Dhawan will lead the young Indian team on the white-ball tour of Sri Lanka.

Indian cricket team on the tour of Sri Lanka | BCCI/TwitterEx-Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga's remark on the Indian cricket team for the Sri Lanka tour is garnering reactions from the cricket fraternity.

Notably, Ranatunga had slammed SLC for agreeing to host a second-string Indian side, saying that it is nothing short of an ‘insult’.

However, former India batsman-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar thinks otherwise. According to him, Indian team selected for the Sri Lanka tour is a full-strength T20 side.

See Also:  Harsha Bhogle names his predicted India playing XI for limited-overs series vs Sri Lanka

“First things first, this is not a second-string Indian team. India’s Test team is in England and in Sri Lanka we have the Indian T20 team. Barring only a few players, this is India’s full strength T20 team,” Manjrekar wrote in a column for Hindustan Times.

“A second-string team is when an entirely different squad is put up by a country in the same format. Like Australia did famously in 1994 in a quadrangular in Australia where the Australian A team beat two other international teams to make it to a best of three finals versus the senior Australian side. Those were days when Australian cricket was in robust health. I would like to think that India’s T20 cricket too is in fine shape,” he added.

“There are some truly dynamic T20 players in this Indian team in SL, some who will even challenge the incumbent, big names of Indian cricket. Considering this is the T20 World Cup year, I will focus more on India’s T20 side than the ODI side,” he continued.

With the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma currently on the tour of England, Shikhar Dhawan has been shouldered with the responsibility to lead the national side in Sri Lanka, which also features the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson among others.

Legendary Rahul Dravid is overseeing the young guns on the tour, starting with the three-match ODI series from July 18 and culminating with the three-T20I series on July 29.

Sanjay Manjrekar cited the examples of aforementioned cricketers to prove his point.

“Let’s start with Prithvi Shaw. Extremely flashy, yes, but extremely dangerous too. He hits boundaries against good balls, a great asset to have if you are batting in the first six overs of a T20 game. If it’s his day, he will put his team so far ahead in the game that the others would have to only stroll to the finish line.

“What makes Shaw great value in a T20 team is that he does not put too big a price on his wicket, unlike some batters who can drag a team back by instinctively not wanting to get out. Selflessness and fearlessness are two great attributes to have, especially in T20 cricket. Shaw has these qualities,” Manjrekar opined.

“Then we have Surya Kumar Yadav -- an ideal no 3. Like Shaw, he too will hit boundaries off good balls, but unlike Shaw he will do that playing non-risky shots. Like creaming a short of length ball, bowled at the stumps through the covers, along the ground. Zero risk, high returns. Very few batsmen have been able to sustain T20 form and quality batsmanship like Yadav has in the last 2-3 years,” he further said.

“Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson are again examples of the wealth of T20 talent Indian cricket currently has, both devastating batsmen who can don keeping gloves. Personally, I would give Ishan a game before Samson, based purely on better consistency,” he remarked.

Veteran Bhuvneshwar Kumar will spearhead the Indian pace attack, which includes Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini and the uncapped Chetan Sakariya as well.

In the spin department, Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy also feature alongside Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.

“In the bowling department we have a young Chetan Sakariya who impressed me thoroughly in the last IPL. For one so young and new at this level, it was amazing to see his team use him the way India use Jasprit Bumrah. Sakariya would bowl in the first six overs, then come in the middle to control things and finish off bowling those crucial, game- deciding death overs,” Manjrekar wrote.

“We know Chahal well, but the others--Kuldeep Yadav, Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy --have enough ability that if India have to play them, even in the T20 World Cup, it won’t weaken India one bit,” he elaborated.


By Salman Anjum - 17 Jul, 2021

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