New Zealand, after a 0-3 loss in the ODIs, will be desperate for some respite in the three-match T20I leg which commences with the first outing at the JSCA International Stadium Complex here on Friday.
But given India’s stellar home record in T20Is, New Zealand’s dry run could well continue.
India has won 10 and drawn two of the last 12 bi-lateral T20I bouts played in this country, with the last series loss dating back to February 2019 (against Australia).
It also came out on top in the three-match T20I leg when the side toured New Zealand in November last year.
India has made significant personnel changes from the squad that stayed unbeaten in the ODIs. Rohit Sharma misses out, so does Virat Kohli. Hardik Pandya, who led the unit in the T20Is against Sri Lanka earlier this month, will continue as captain.
Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami - the best pacers on view in the ODIs - make way for Arshdeep Singh, Shivam Mavi and uncapped Mukesh Kumar.
Mumbai batter Prithvi Shaw makes his comeback to international cricket, on the back of a great run in domestic cricket. Shaw could open the batting with Shubman Gill - the standout performer in the preceding leg. Gill, with scores of 208 and 112 in the first and third ODIs respectively, is all set to make a mark in the shortest format.
Suryakumar Yadav had a disappointing run in the ODIs, but New Zealand will be aware that it is in T20Is that he truly excels. Suryakumar, numero uno in the ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings, has set the bar high with his range of unorthodox, fearless shots.
Ishan Kishan, who managed only 30 runs in the three ODIs, must get his act together.
Vidarbha cricketer Jitesh Sharma, who replaced an injured Sanju Samson in the Sri Lanka T20Is, could find a spot as wicketkeeper-batter if Kishan is dropped.
Batter Rituraj Gaikwad has been ruled out of the three T20Is due to a wrist injury, it was announced here on Thursday. No replacement will be named for Gaikwad.
Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav has enjoyed a resurgence in India colours. After a while in the wilderness, Kuldeep has recently proved his worth in 50-over cricket. Kuldeep last played a T20I in August last year, and will be eager to hit the ground running in his return to this format.
New Zealand will be led by all-rounder Mitchell Santner. Left-arm fast bowler Ben Lister, who did well in the Super Smash, is in line to earn his maiden international cap.
“We’ve seen a lot of Lister over the last couple of years. He has grown tremendously as a bowler. His left-arm angle which swings away from the right-hander is something new and different. He’s also been bowling pretty good wheels,” Santner said in a press conference here on Thursday.
(Match starts at 7.30 p.m.)