Krunal’s all-round heroics helped India seal a five-wicket win in the low-scoring opening T20I in Kolkata. However, he couldn’t get a chance to bat in subsequent matches and remained wicket-less with his slow left-arm orthodox spin.
While Krunal played all three matches, Kuldeep featured in first two, following which he was rested to give Chahal a chance in the third and final T20I in Chennai. Kuldeep claimed five wickets in two matches, while Chahal took two wickets in the only match he played.
While the ongoing success of Kuldeep and Chahal can’t be denied, Krunal’s presence in the playing eleven provides India a necessary boost at the lower-middle order. Krunal’s nine-ball 21 in Kolkata was a sight to watch as he displayed some of the best batting shots with much grace and less complication.
India may play three spinners in Kuldeep, Chahal and Krunal along with pace duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. At the pre-match conference in Brisbane on Tuesday, Kohli expressed his confidence in pacers Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah.
“Bhuvi, Bumrah both are good. They have the ability to predict what is going to happen in each ball. They do get dominated by the batsmen sometimes like everyone does. But 85 to 90 percent, they are correct,” Kohli said.
However, left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed will be rested in that case. Khaleel made his T20I debut in the same match as Krunal and notched up three wickets in as many matches.
Captain Virat Kohli, who was rested during India’s home series against the Windies, is back to take the reins of the national team. It was vice-captain Rohit Sharma, who led India to a series win in Kohli’s absence.
Kohli’s arrival in the 12-man squad came at the expense of middle-order batsman Manish Pandey, who managed to score just 23 runs in three matches.
India’s 12-man T20I squad for 1st T20I: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed.