Dhawan could lead India in Sri Lanka white-ball series

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New Delhi: Opener Shikhar Dhawan could lead an India side for the limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka in July as the Indian cricket board looks to form a white-ball squad in the absence of top players who will be busy in England for Test matches at the time.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Prithvi Shaw, Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan could be in the white-ball squad that is likely to play three One-day Internationals and three T20 Internationals at a single venue in the island nation from July 13.

While plans for the tour have not been thrashed out yet and there has been no official announcement, it is natural that some of the players who have performed in limited overs cricket for India and in the IPL recently will be picked.

Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, who both did well for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, and also in the white-ball series against England at home, could be in the squad.

Among youngsters who have burst onto the scene through IPL, spinner Rahul Chahar and left-arm pace bowler Chetan Sakariya could find a place in the Indian team. Rahul’s cousin Deepak Chahar could also make the cut.

Sakariya impressed for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL edition this time, picking seven wickets in seven matches.

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Karnataka opener Devdutt Padikkal is likely to be one of the three openers India will travel with besides Dhawan and Shaw.

While four of the five national selectors contacted by IANS haven’t responded yet to queries on the team, Dhawan looks to be the best bet to captain the India team in Sri Lanka due to his experience and also the fact that he has led his state side, Delhi, in domestic cricket, including Ranji Trophy.

The 35-year-old has played 34 Test matches, 142 ODIs and 65 T20 Internationals.

Dhawan was also the leading run-getter in the IPL 2021 edition, aggregating 380 runs in eight matches at an average of 54.38 for Delhi Capitals.

He and Shaw formed a solid opening pair for Delhi Capitals, who were on top of the points table before the tournament was postponed.

Dhawan was deputy to Rohit Sharma during the 2018 Nidahas Trophy that India won despite the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) resting key players.

Some of the youngsters who featured in the Nidahas Trophy T20 tournament are now an integral part of the Test side that is travelling to England.

Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, KL Rahul and Shardul Thakur, who were part of the India T20 squad for Nidahas Trophy, are now part of the India Test side with Rohit.

A 20-member India side under Virat Kohli will be travelling to England soon for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and a five-Test series against England.