India set sight on last T20 series before World Cup (Preview, 1st T20I)

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Colombo, July 24 (IANS) The Indian team management in Sri Lanka will focus first on sealing the three-match T20 International series that begins here on Sunday and then give youngsters an opportunity in the final T20I. These are the last set of T20 matches that India will play in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup in October-November.

“We can give some new guys chance in tomorrow’s match. [But] The way we sealed the ODI series after winning the first two matches, we had a great chance of giving youngsters a chance to play international cricket in the last ODI,” said skipper Shikhar Dhawan to media in a virtual interaction on Saturday, the eve of the first T20I which will be played at the R Premadasa Stadium.

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“We will field our best team for tomorrow’s T20 and hope to win the first two matches. If we have to experiment, we will try and win the first two matches and then experiment in the third,” added the 35-year-old.

India will go into the T20 series on the back of a 2-1 win in the ODI series. However, India’s loss in the final match may have given the Sri Lankans confidence.

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The tourists had made six changes in the final match and fielded five ODI debutants. This was the first time in over 40 years that India had played an ODI with so many debutants.

They had even rested pace bowler Deepak Chahar, who had put up a match-winning batting performance in the second ODI.

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Dhawan has full faith in the team’s youngsters and said they are ready to be thrown in the deep end.

“They are ready which is why they are doing well. You saw in the ODI series, they will take confidence and as a team, we have created an amazing environment,” said Dhawan, who is leading the limited-overs team since

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are busy on Test duties in England.

The Sri Lankans will see the return of pace bowler Binura Fernando, who had missed the ODI series.

Young captain Dasun Shanaka’s leadership has received good reviews after he marshalled the youngsters well.

The fact that the host can challenge India wasn’t lost on Dhawan.

“They have improved a lot in the last two matches [of the ODI series]. The team is doing well, they have got great youngsters. Both teams have youngsters. It will be a good battle. Both teams know [their] weaknesses and strengths [after facing each other in the ODI series]. That is a good thing,” said Dhawan further.

–IANS

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