After the historic pink-ball Test against Bangladesh in Kolkata, the focus now shifts to the white-ball format as India prepare to host West Indies in a three-match T20I series closely followed by an ODI series.
Looking ahead at the T20 World Cup which is scheduled to take place in Australia next year, India made certain changes in their squad in order to zero in on a squad for the mega event.
Consequently, the T20I squad for the West Indies series saw the return of Kuldeep Yadav to partner his bowling companion, Yuzvendra Chahal.
India also brought back Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was out of action due to a back injury. While a few regulars were included in the side, the hosts were also keen to give a couple of youngsters a longer run in order to assess what they have to offer to the team.
While most of the players pick themselves, there are still a couple of spots that are up for grabs. Some of the youngsters will have an opportunity to impress the selectors to make a case for their selection in the T20 World Cup squad next year.
Here is a look at 3 players who can seal their spot for the T20 World Cup next year in Australia:
1. Deepak Chahar
The Man of the Series in India’s recent T20I series victory over Bangladesh, Deepak Chahar made the record books as he became the first Indian to claim a hat-trick in T20Is.
The 27-year old from Rajasthan has grown leaps and bounds to make it to the Indian side. His impressive performances in the last few seasons for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL have helped his cause a great deal.
After his great show in the T20Is, Chahar was also included in the ODI squad against West Indies as a part of the three-men pace attack.
It will be a huge opportunity for Deepak and if he can continue to deliver with the ball, he might well be the first-choice seamer in the team.
It will be crucial for him to string in consistent performances with the ball and make it tough for the skipper to drop him from the squad.
He is expected to face stiff competition from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, once Jasprit Bumrah returns after the rehabilitation from his stress fracture.
2. KL Rahul
The explosive Indian opener, KL Rahul might not have been the first-choice option, but after Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out due to injury, the Karnataka batsman is likely to open for India in the three T20Is against West Indies.
Rahul will consider himself lucky and would want to make the most of this golden opportunity in the absence of Dhawan.
KL will arrive in the series with his confidence sky-high after his consistent show inspired Karnataka to reach the semi-Finals of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy (Karnataka beat Tamil Nadu in the final).
Rahul, who is known to annihilate attacks with his attacking and classy stroke-play, will want to secure his spot in the side by making useful contributions with the bat.
He might also have to sit out, upon Dhawan’s return to the side. However, the three matches against West Indies will be a chance to prove his worth and make the opening slot his own.
3. Shreyas Iyer
With the arrival of Shreyas Iyer post India’s World Cup exit, it appears that India have finally found a solution to their middle-order conundrum of No.4.
Ever since his inclusion in the team, Iyer has seemingly hit a purple patch with runs in almost all matches.
He has even extended his good run of form for his state team after he recently walloped a 40-ball 80 to guide Mumbai to post a huge total on the board.
His ability to rotate the strike and smash sixes at will, makes him a reliable option after Virat Kohli in the middle-order.
He follows a Kohli-like approach with respect to the pace of his innings and has been quite successful in batting through the middle-overs with gained control.
Iyer would hope that his rich vein of form continues to help India and his cause for making regular appearances in the playing XI.
He will have to capitalize on whatever opportunity comes his way, in order to make a case for his inclusion in India’s T20 World Cup squad next year.
Cover credits: ESPNCricinfo