Here is the expected lineup for the T20I series against New Zealand:
1. Prithvi Shaw
Shaw had an exceptional IPL during the India-leg. He was one of the top run-scorers in the tournament during that stage. Selectors will likely give him the nod to open as he was a part of the Sri Lanka tour where he did well.
2. Ruturaj Gaikwad
Gaikwad had a career-defying IPL season as he ended up as the top run-scorer of the tournament. He will definitely be a part of the Indian playing XI against New Zealand given the kind of season he had.
3. Sanju Samson (wk)
Samson is behind Pant and Kishan in the pecking order but the duo is in the World Cup squad. Hence, Pant and Kishan will likely miss the T20I series at home. Sanju had a great IPL season as he was the top run-scorer for Rajasthan. In the absence of Pant and Kishan, Sanju will take up the keeping duties.
4. Shreyas Iyer (c)
Shreyas Iyer is in the traveling reserves and will most likely not feature in the World Cup. Hence, he may get a chance in the T20I series as he hasn’t played international cricket since March. As Iyer has had a successful record as captain for Delhi Capitals, he can be a great choice for the captaincy duties.
5. Venkatesh Iyer
Venkatesh Iyer is the find of the season. The Indian team desperately needed fast bowling all-rounder and Iyer fits perfectly in that category. Though he opened for KKR, he may not get that opportunity while playing for India. In domestic cricket, Iyer bats in the middle order for Madhya Pradesh.
6. Rahul Tripathi
Rahul Tripathi is the most underrated player in the IPL. There has never been such a selfless player in IPL who has played in all positions just to give his side some balance. Plus, in this season he scored more than 350 runs at a strike rate of 140+. It would be harsh on Rahul if he misses the New Zealand series.
7. Axar Patel
Axar Patel is another player who was selected in the reserves but may not feature in the World Cup. Hence, he can be a part of the T20I series as India’s spinning all-rounder. Although, Axar has been in bio bubbles for a long time. Hence, selectors may pick Krunal Pandya in his place.
8. Harshal Patel
Harshal Patel had a dream IPL season. It would be a crime if he isn’t picked for the T20I series. He ended his season as the leading wicket-taker and also earned the Player of the Tournament (MVP) award. Also, Harshal is handy with the bat.
9. Yuzvendra Chahal
Chahal was probably the unluckiest Indian player to miss out on the World Cup. He is India’s highest wicket-taker in T20I cricket. Plus, he had an exceptional UAE leg where he never went wicketless in any match. He will be picked as India’s frontline spinner in the New Zealand series.
10. Mohammed Siraj
Since his success in Australia, Siraj has reinvented himself as a white-ball bowler. He was the most economical bowler in the IPL and bowled exceptionally well at the death. His economy at the death in the IPL is second to none. He will likely be the leading pacer for India.
11. Avesh Khan
Avesh Khan is another great find for India who ended as the second leading wicket-taker in IPL 2021. Delhi Capitals preferred him over veteran pacers like Umesh and Ishant and he didn’t disappoint the team. Avesh certainly has a great future for him ahead.