It's that time of the year again. Virat Kohli-led India will kick off their long home season when they take on South Africa in the first T20I at Dharamsala on Sunday with an eye on the ICC T20 World Cup to be held in Australia next year.
The hosts enjoyed an unbeaten run in the Caribbean during their last assignment, having beaten West Indies. While they clinched a 3-0 clean sweep in the T20Is, Kohli and Co claimed the ODIs and Tests with both the series finishing 2-0.
Meanwhile, this will be the visitors' first international assignment since their disastrous World Cup campaign where they finished seventh with just three wins out of nine games.
Captain Virat Kohli said on Saturday during the pre-match press-conference that the team has a clear vision towards their preparations for the T20 World Cup.
"We wanted to give opportunities to players who have done well for the past two years in the domestic circuit and T20 cricket in the IPL. It is about finding the best possible balance we can for the side and not necessarily stick to one particular type of balance. If other teams can bat till number nine, so why cannot we? Whatever decisions are made, they are made looking at the future," Kohli said.
"The first two to three T20I series will help us assess every situation. Definitely the roadmap for T20 World Cup in 2020 is on our mind. It is an exciting prospect looking at the new bunch of guys in our lineup," he added.
Hardik Pandya returns to the side following a break after India's World Cup campaign, while Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini will be expected to step up for Bhuveshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.
Saini has taken five wickets in three T20Is, while Khaleel has taken 11 wickets in as many matches.
According to Accuweather, there will be intermittent clouds around 1 pm, while it will be 'partly' or 'mostly' sunny between 2 pm and 3 pm. However, a few thunderstorms are expected around 4 pm. Despite this, by the time the match starts a 7 pm, the forecast shows as 'hazy moonlight' with just three percent precipitation, which means there will be less chances of rain.
With inputs from ANI
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Ppener Prithvi Shaw (48 off 45 balls) was looking ominous before he was out in the 14th over of India A's first innings. He hit nine fours during his knock.