India vs Afghanistan, 1st T20I Predicted XI: Toss up between Sanju Samson and Jitesh Sharma in Mohali

India vs Afghanistan, 1st T20I Predicted XI: Toss up between Sanju Samson and Jitesh Sharma in Mohali

On Thursday, January 11, India will play Afghanistan in the opening Twenty20 International of their three-match series at Mohali’s PCA Stadium.

In the game’s shortest format, India is ranked highest going into it, while Afghanistan is ranked tenth according to the most recent ICC rankings. The Men in Blue actually have an impeccable record in Twenty20 Internationals against the Afghans. Afghanistan has lost four of the five T20I matches between them, with one match ending in a no-result. Afghanistan has never beaten India in T20Is.

In addition, Rohit Sharma, who hasn’t played white-ball cricket since India’s loss in the 2023 ODI World Cup final, will captain the team again for this encounter. Remarkably, this will be Rohit’s first Twenty20 international match since India was eliminated by England in the 2022 T20 World Cup semifinals.

He and Yashasvi Jaiswal will open the batting, as head coach Rahul Dravid has confirmed. As Virat Kohli is absent from this match for personal reasons, Shubman Gill is expected to bat at number three. It is anticipated that Tilak Varma will rank fourth, with the hard-hitting Rinku Singh ranking fifth.

Sanju Samson and Jitesh Sharma will square off for the wicket-keeping position. Even though Samson of the Rajasthan Royals hit his first-ever hundred against South Africa in the last game of India’s ODI series, Jitesh still has the upper hand.

However, Samson has emerged as a more suitable top-order option, and Jitesh has proven to be more effective down the order. There’s a chance that Samson and Jitesh play together, with Samson batting third rather than Gill. Gill’s poor T20I form may tempt Dravid and company to try this combination.

As the only all-rounder with spin bowling ability, Axar Patel will bat first. Ravi Bishnoi, the top-ranked T20I bowler, and the seasoned Kuldeep Yadav will compete for the position of spinner.

It is anticipated that Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar, and Arshdeep Singh will make up India’s pace-bowling trio. But if India decides to try an all-rounder who bowls quickly in Hardik Pandya’s absence, Shivam Dube might also be given a look.

As for Afghanistan, they will be without their lucky man, Rashid Khan, who is out of the three-match series due to back surgery. Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who recently smashed his maiden T20I century against the UAE, will bat first with Ibrahim Zadran at the head of the team.

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