A short trip to Ireland for a two match T20I series will provide the Indian team some much-needed acclimatisation time ahead of their two-month long tour of England. It isn’t often that a Test series against England is preceded by a host of limited overs assignments but India have that luxury this time round as they play five T20Is (two against Ireland and three against England), three ODIs against England before their five-Test series.
While some of India’s Test regulars who are part of the T20I and ODI squads will look at the upcoming games as an opportunity to fine tune their skills and get their game in order for the tougher assignments in store, the entire limited-overs contingent will also embrace the matches as a chance to prove their credentials ahead of the 2019 World Cup which will be held in England and Wales this time next year.
The prime-time slots for Ireland, in terms of playing against the top-ranked teams, have been mostly limited to world events, but their big draw event happened earlier this year when they hosted Pakistan for their Test debut. A series against India, albeit in the shortest format, will be their biggest ever hosting opportunity and the team will be keen to prove that they aren’t pushovers. They are hosting India for only the second time in their international cricketing history – and the first time in a T20I series – and they’ll approach the two matches eager to prove that their are able competitors.
When:Wednesday, June 27 at 4:00 PMLocal time (8:30 PM IST)
Where:The Village, Dublin
What to expect:It has been close to three years since a T20I has been played at Malahide. A total of 160 has been scaled only twice here, which happened in the game between Afghanistan and Hong Kong in the World T20 Qualifier in July 2015 when the latter chased down a target of 162. With warm conditions on the match day, the pitch could be drier than usual.
Ireland: “Our deliberations were around finding a side that was competitive now, but with an eye on the future,” Andrew White, the chairman of selectors, had said after announcing the Ireland squad for the two matches. Gary Wilson will continue to lead Ireland while the selectors recalled offspinner Andy McBrine and left-arm pacer Joshua Little in place of Barry McCarthy and Craig Young.
India: With a host of proven performers to choose from, the Indian think-tank will have some selection headaches ahead of the two games. Their middle-order options include Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik and it might come to a toss up between these three for one spot. Umesh Yadav is also part of the squad, having last played a T20I in August 2012, but it remains to be seen if he gets a look in straightaway.
Did you know?
– The first T20I in Malahide will be India’s 100th in the format.
– This will be the first bilateral T20I involving Ireland and India. They have played only one T20I before this – during the 2009 World T20 in which India registered an eight wicket win.
– Virat Kohli needs 17 runs to become the first Indian and the third player overall to reach the 2000-run mark in T20Is. He’ll also become the fastest to the mark should he get there within the next nine matches. Brendon McCullum, the first to 2000 runs, got there in 67 matches while Martin Guptill took 73 matches to the milestone. Kohli also holds the record for being the fastest to the 1000 runs in T20Is.
– If Umesh Yadav makes it to the final XI, it will be his first appearance after missing 67 T20Is – fourth most missed by any player and most for India. His only game in the format came in Pallekele in Aug 2012.
Ireland: Gary Wilson (c), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Joshua Little, Andy McBrine, Kevin O’Brien, William Porterfield, Stuart Poynter, Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson.
India: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Siddarth Kaul, Umesh Yadav.
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