By BV Swagath
After the completion of the real cricketing contest in whites, India and England now turn out to play a couple of T20Is before they give a break to each other just for a while. England will be returning home for Christmas and will be back again shortly for a 5-match ODI Series. India in the meanwhile is going to host arch rivals Pakistan for a short series of two T20Is and three ODIs.
The first of the two T20Is between India and England is scheduled tonight at 7:00 PM IST at Pune in the newly built Subrata Roya Sahara Stadium. It will be a different ball game for India as the skill levels for the batsmen are a lot lesser than what it was in the Test matches. It will be interesting to see how the likes of Dhoni, Gambhir, Yuvraj and others cope up with the transition from Test Cricket to the shortest version of the game.
The entire Indian squad has players taking part in the Test Series or playing in the 4-day Ranji Trophy matches, so it could be slightly difficult for the hosts to straightaway make the necessary adjustments. From the Indian team, Parvinder Awana is likely to make his International Debut. Uttar Pradesh all-rounder Bhuvneshwar Kumar and AT Rayudu could get their chance in the second T20I.
England under Eoin Morgan has players who have been training specifically for this T20 format of the game. The visitors would miss the services of Graeme Swann and the injured Stuart Broad. England will be the favourites to win tonight’s match but the last time the two teams met in Sri Lanka, India was all over them because of its spinners.
The venue of tonight’s 1st T20I is the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune which will be hosting its first ever international match.
India Squad: Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Abhimanyu Mithun, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuvraj Singh, Parvinder Awana, Piyush Chawla, Ambati Rayudu
England Squad: Alex Hales, Luke Wright, Jonathan Bairstow, Eoin Morgan (C), Jos Buttler (WK), Samit Patel, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Meaker, Michael Lumb, Jade Dernbach, Danny Briggs, James Harris, James Tredwell