Euro 2020 Special

Ireland v India 1st T20I Preview: Another Chance for Indian Understudies to Impress


India will face Ireland in the first of two T20Is on Sunday, June 26th. The match is being played at The Village in Dublin and is scheduled to begin at 4.30 pm local time.

Here are some key taking points ahead of the match.


The revolving captaincy

India have been forced to make another change to the captaincy with Hardik Pandya set to make his international debut as skipper.

With Rohit Sharma rested for the recent T20I series against South Africa, the job was handed to KL Rahul, only for him to tear his groin on the eve of the series. Rishabh Pant stepped into his shoes with Pandya as his deputy.

But with Pant having now joined the Test squad in England, preparing for the match that was held over from last year following a COVID-19 outbreak in the Indian squad, which means the baton has now passed, at least on a temporary basis to Pandya.

With the T20I World Cup in Australia now less than four months away, this is not an ideal state.

Not that Pandya should be lacking in confidence, just having led the Gujarat Titans to the Indian 20 league title in their inaugural season.


Who can take their chance?

Not only Pant, but also Shreyas Iyer have joined the UK test squad, so the door has been opened for the likes of Sanju Samson and Deepak Hooda to stake a claim. Samson, in particular, has been here before and he needs to start finding consistency if he is to have any form of sustained international future.

Suryakumar Yadav comes straight back into the team after recovering from a wrist injury, and he will likely bat at either three or four.

Ruturaj Gaikwad may feel he has a point to prove. Whilst fellow opener Ishan Kishan probably did enough against South Africa to earn himself a reserve slot in the World Cup team, he appeared to struggle against quality fast bowling. He needs several good innings in this series to answer his critics.


Will the Indian selectors be bold?

Included in the squad again for this tour are the young bowling trio of Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, and Ravi Bishnoi. All earned their places with strong performances for their franchises in the Indian t20 league this season, and many were disappointed that they were not given an opportunity in the series against South Africa.

Malik and Singh, though, will be hoping that they might be given their break with the conditions expected to suit them. And with respect to the Irish, they are lower calibre opposition at least on paper.

The question is whether the Indian selectors will be bold enough to risk them.


Ireland should not be underestimated

In theory, Ireland will not be expected to give India anything like the same challenge they faced from the South Africans. Certainly, they are giving the visitors a lot of respect with the Irish captain Andrew Balbirnie admiring the strength in depth of Indian cricket, and their ability to field two teams – something that is currently beyond their ability as a cricketing nation.

At the same time, it would be a mistake for India to underestimate the Irish, especially playing in home conditions. With the likes of Paul Stirling, Gareth Delany, and Balbirnie himself in their line-up, they have a strong batting side. And if the Indian bowlers are loose, they can expect to be punished.

It is also a chance for Irish cricket to grab the global spotlight for once, so they will want to put on a show.


Head to Head

The two nations have played three T2OIs before, and India have won all three.



The wicket in Dublin should assist the bowlers initially so the batters will need to be cautious and patient early in their innings. Traditionally batting gets easier later in the day, and therefore, the side that wins the toss should bowl first. 


Weather forecast

The weather does not look particularly promising for Sunday with rain forecast for the Dublin area throughout the day. It will also be a lot cooler than the Indians are used to  – the thermometer will be struggling to get about 17 degrees Celsius, so heavy sweaters will be the order of the day.



It would be a turn-up for the books if the outcome of this match were to be anything other than an Indian win.

However, almost as much as victory will be the manner of it, who, if anybody, is ready to stand up and stake a claim for the T20I World Cup squad?




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