The BCCI recently confirmed that India is set to tour Sri Lanka for a three-match ODI and T-20 series in Sri Lanka. With India’s most experienced cricketers set to play in England, the Sri Lanka series could be a golden opportunity for many players. The tour to Sri Lanka could provide a lifeline to many Indian internationals who have been out of favor recently. Here we look at five Indian players who could make a comeback against Sri Lanka.
#5 Kuldeep Yadav
In a space of two years, Kuldeep has gone from the leader of India’s spin bowling attack to an outlier. He last played a T-20 against Sri Lanka in 2020 and the emergence of Washington Sundar has resulted in his exclusion from T-20s.
In the ODIs, he featured in a dead rubber against Australia and did not convince his critics in the first two ODIs against England. His IPL form has also dipped sharply and the Sri Lanka series could be Kuldeep’s last chance to make a comeback to the playing eleven.
#4 Navdeep Saini
Saini had a pretty disappointing IPL in 2020 and followed it with some meddling performances against Australia. He was particularly criticized for spraying the ball everywhere, which includes bowling a few dangerous beamers. In his last ODI for India, Saini did not bowl his full quota of overs after conceding 70 runs in 7 overs.
The IPL showed that Saini has clearly become a second choice bowler for captain Kohli as Siraj and Harshal were preferred over him. Playing against Sri Lanka could be a blessing for Saini as the Lankan batsmen have historically struggled against pace and bounce which Saini has in abundance.
#3 Deepak Chahar
Before the pandemic, Deepak Chahar an automatic pick for T-20 Internationals as his wicket-taking ability in the powerplay was valued a lot. The IPL in the UAE was the start of his decline as he struggled to swing the ball in dry conditions.
Chahar was dealt comfortably by the Aussie batsman as he managed just one wicket in three T-20 games. He was also expensive in his last two games for India and fully fit Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is touted to replace him. However, a comeback against Sri Lanka could increase his chances of featuring in the T-20 World Cup.
#2 Sanju Samson
On his day, there are very few batsmen who can match Samson’s stroke play, but inconsistent performances have hampered his progress. After spending months warming the bench since his debut in 2015, Samson was finally given a consistent run in 2020.
The storyline was no different as Samson failed to make an impact, although he looked in good touch. A brilliant century against Punjab Kings in IPL 2021 is yet another evidence of his remarkable talent. He could bat higher up the order in the Sri Lankan series which will give him more time to settle at the crease.
#1 Prithvi Shaw
The diminutive strokemaker divides opinion like no other batsmen among fans of the Indian cricket team. After a horrible tour of Australia, Shaw was left out of the England series. Shaw went back to play in the Vijay Hazare trophy and finished the tournament with a barely believable tally of 827 runs at a strike rate of over 100.
Shaw has played only three ODI’s for India, but a comeback against Sri Lanka will steady his International career. He could open the innings with Padikkal, a mouthwatering prospect for Indian fans.