Need to take call on Shikhar

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport - VVS Lax­man

Sun­day will mark the start of a fresh home sea­son of in­ter­na­tional cricket with a dis­tinct slant to­wards T20 and Test . First up against a new-look South Africa is the three­match T20I series, which In­dia will ap­proach with great con­fi­dence and op­ti­mism. Their last out­ing was an un­qual­i­fied suc­cess, away from home, against the formidable

West Indies who are the de­fend­ing T20

World Cup cham­pi­ons.

The ease with which In­dia brushed them aside in Lauder­hill and Prov­i­dence was a tremen­dous achieve­ment, and I ex­pect an equally strong per­for­mance against

Quin­ton de Kock’s young South Africa side.

In­dia boast a pow­er­ful and ex­pe­ri­enced bat­ting line-up which gives them the edge straight­away, and the re­turn of Hardik Pandya adds greater fire­power to the bat­ting and bal­ance to the team. While Hardik will slot straight­away into the play­ing XI, I would also like to see Man­ish Pandey re­tain his place to show­case his abil­i­ties. With the next T20 World Cup a lit­tle over a year away, In­dia will have to decide whether Shikhar Dhawan is still the preferred open­ing part­ner for Ro­hit Sharma go­ing for­ward.

There are a lot of other bats­men ca­pa­ble of strik­ing up a good al­liance with Ro­hit at the top of the or­der. How long a rope the team man­age­ment is will­ing to give him will make for in­ter­est­ing view­ing.

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