England, on the other hand, will aim to start afresh in the white-ball fixtures, starting with the first T20I at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad from March 12.
Both squads consist of star players who can potentially change the match on their own and take their team to victory. So, let’s take a look at 6 players who might have a big say in the outcome of the T20I series:
6. Dawid Malan (ENGLAND)
Over the past few years, Dawid Malan’s hard-hitting approach has seen him being promoted from the lower-middle-order to an opener. Only 19 T20I old, Malan is nearing the 1000-run mark in the shortest format, averaging just over 53. He also has nine 50+ score and one T20I ton to his name.
Malan had a brilliant outing when England toured South Africa last year. He scored 173 runs in three games, including an unbeaten 99 in the third and final T20I, as England won the series 3-0. He also had a decent outing in the Big Bash League (BBL) while plying his trade for the Hobart Hurricanes.
Hence, Malan will have to play a huge role if England are to win the series against India.
5. Hardik Pandya (INDIA)
Hardik Pandya, one of the most powerful strikers of the ball, has been a revelation for India, especially in white-ball games. Since recovering from a back injury, which he had picked in 2019, he has taken his batting game to a whole new level.
From catalyzing Mumbai Indians title defence in IPL 2020 to playing a pivotal role in India’s 2-1 triumph over Australia in the three-match T20I series in December, Pandya stormed into the limelight with his exploits in T20 cricket.
Pandya’s sublime form, coupled with his ability to strike the ball, makes him one of the key players to watch out for in the upcoming T20 series.
4. Ben Stokes (ENGLAND)
Ben Stokes had a quiet outing in the Test series and will look to showcase his class in the white-ball games, starting with the T20Is. His aggressive mindset will do a great deal in his way of devising plans for the Indian team.
Stokes had played a few quick-fire knocks against South Africa and was equally decisive with the ball as well. Although Stokes doesn’t have the best of records in T20I players, he is not a player whom you can judge on the basis.
Stokes can come up with uncanny knocks at crucial stages or chip in with crucial wickets. Considering his reputation, it is fair to say that Stokes is one of the players to watch out for in the series.
3. Rohit Sharma (INDIA)
Team India vice-captain Rohit Sharma is one of the cleanest hitters of the bowl. He is also one of the most featured batsmen in the shorter formats, mainly because of his ability to do equal justice to all kinds of deliveries.
So far, Rohit has played 108 T20Is for India, scoring 2,773 runs at an average of 32.6. He also has 4 international hundreds and 21 half-centuries to his name, making him one of the obvious threats.
Rohit had missed the white-ball fixtures in Australia due to a minor injury. The longer he bats, India are likelier to take the game away from the opposition. Hence, his form will be a key factor in the upcoming series.
2. Jofra Archer (ENGLAND)
Barbados-born pacer, Jofra Archer, is one of the deadliest bowlers in T20 cricket. His ability to take wickets at crucial moments in the game, coupled with his excellent economy rate, make him a serious threat.
Though just 7 T2OIs old, Archer has plenty of experience of bowling in the sub-continent pitches, having been a part of IPL for the past three seasons. Plus, he can also chip in with some runs, down the order, if required.
1. Virat Kohli (INDIA)
There can’t be a T20I list without Team India skipper Virat Kohli, who is the all-time top scorer in the shortest format of the game. As shocking as it may sound, Virat is yet to score a ton in T20 Internationals.
However, his consistency is quite visible from the fact that he averages more than 50, despite playing 85 games, so far, in his career. In the T20I series against Australia last year, Virat scored 134 runs in three games, averaging just over 44.
Though he might be going through a barren spell, one can not count Virat Kohli out, on the basis of a few innings. His ability to finish the game is second to none, if not better. He will definitely be the player to watch out for, having struggled to get runs recently.