After a washout in the series-opener robbed the auditioning Indian youngsters of valuable game time, the think tank will be hoping for clear weather in the second T20I against South Africa on Tuesday.
Even the toss could not be held in Durban on Sunday and there is a rain forecast even for the second game of the three-match series. Now, only five games are left in the build up to the T20 World Cup in June and the management has a very small window to try out players.
In the current scenario, form in the IPL will carry a lot of weight for selection in the Indian team bound for USA and Caribbean.
The selectors announced a 17-man squad for the series and it is highly unlikely that all of them would get an opportunity in the remaining two games.
Shubman Gill, who was not part of the T20 series against Australia held right after the World Cup, Suryakumar Yadav and Rinku Singh seem to be the only certainties in the batting order for the ICC event six months later.
Both Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ruturaj Gaikwad have got runs under their belt but if Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma make themselves available for the World Cup, the two fringe players would need a sensational effort in the IPL to make the cut.
The only other series India play before the World Cup is against Afghanistan at home next month. The selectors will be forced to consider only IPL performance for World Cup selection, raising questions over the scheduling of India’s T20 commitments before the World Cup.
Like Rinku, Jitesh Sharma is also being seen as the finisher for India in the shortest format. After showing promise against Australia, Jitesh will be hoping for game time against the Proteas.
The extra bounce on South Africa pitches will pose a stiff test for the young batting line-up.
In the bowling department, multiple spots are up for grabs with only Arshdeep Singh and Jasprit Bumrah, who is not playing this series, straightforward selections for the World Cup.
Deepak Chahar, who was picked for his comeback series, remains in India due to a personal emergency.
Both Kuldeep Yadav and Ravi Bishnoi, who impressed in the T20s against the Aussies, would like to carry their good form into the series. Ravindra Jadeja, who went on a break after the World Cup, has also linked up with the squad.
Like India, South Africa too has only five games left to identify its core for the World Cup. Pace duo of Marco Jansen and Gerald Coetzee were only picked for the first two games. Now with the series-opener washed out, they will only get a single outing before shifting focus to red ball cricket.
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