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SWOT Analysis of Virat Kohli T20I squad against Ireland and England

The India skipper will be back to lead the Indian side for the T20 internationals against Ireland and England.

India captain Virat Kohli celebrates
India captain Virat Kohli celebrates. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Indian Twenty20 international team was announced on May 8 that will be taking on Ireland and England in two separate bilateral series.

India’s tour of the United Kingdom starts from June 27 in the T2OIs against Ireland. The two T20Is are slated on June 27 and 29 respectively. Post that India will play against England in a three-match T20I affair that starts from July 3 to July 7 onwards. Virat Kohli will be leading the side once again after sitting out of the Nidahas Trophy in March.

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The BCCI selected a 17-member squad and there were not many surprises in store given India’s recent achievements in this format. They were successful against Sri Lanka at home, before pipping South Africa 2-1 away and lifting the tri-nation series involving Lanka and Bangladesh.

The Indian team looks solid and go in as favourites against both nations. Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul have been eccentric in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 and based on their performances, they have been selected in the side. The likes of Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur lose their place.

India will be banking on their new-found swagger in this format and give it all to stake an authority abroad.

Here is an analysis of the squad for the T20I series addressing the key aspects.

Strengths

Shikhar Dhawan has been on song in the last two T20I series and mustered a lot of runs. He has three half-centuries in the last eight T20I matches to show his strengths atop. The middle-order boasts a lot of firepower and experience. Suresh Raina took his chances against SA and in the Nidahas Trophy and has been awarded one more shot. With him coming at number 3, India will be looking to launch an attack.

Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni come in next. What bodes well for India is that Kohli was excellent against SA and although he hasn’t played in last two T20I series, that will not bother the champion batsman. Dhoni is the real deal here. The way he has lit the 2018 IPL up, he will be vital as a finisher. With choices than between Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik, India’s batting look very strong.

With Hardik Pandya as the all-rounder, India could go in with three other pacers and the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav has plenty of experience under their belt to raise concern. The wrist spinners too could come handy as they have been putting in the shows for quite some time.

Weaknesses

Rohit Sharma’s form has been a mixed bag. In six out of the last eight innings, he has managed only 60 runs. But then he came good in the final two matches of the Nidahas Trophy smashing 89 and 56 runs respectively. The question here is whether KL Rahul should get a chance atop alongside Dhawan?

The in-form batsman has been in great nick with the bat in the IPL and has staked a claim to start for India. With Rohit’s uncertainty in being consistent, a small weakness lies in the opening conundrum. Besides this, there is hardly any weakness in the squad.

Opportunities

There are plenty of them. Firstly, the series gives a chance for India to perform to their potential and start off the long tour on a positive note. Secondly, there lies an opportunity for either of the two wrist spinners to carry on the good work they showed against South Africa. With two big tournaments in ICC 2019 World Cup and the World Twenty20 coming next, there lies a chance for the wrist spin duo to book a place.

Thirdly, the onus will be on Kaul and Umesh to make the most out of the chances that could be on the way. The Indian pace quartet is a large one and there are plenty of players in line to come and replace someone. So a solid outing could help them cement their places for the long haul.

Lastly, there is a chance for Rohit to do well because if he fails to strike the chords on a regular basis, Rahul may go on to take his place more regularly.

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