DHARAMSHALA, September 14: Virat Kohli will be venturing into the unknown with a clean slate, where a few seasoned hands will be backing a group of immensely talented youngsters, in his quest for World T20 title which begins with a three-match bilateral series against South Africa here on Sunday.
The 3-0 series win against the West Indies could be called a pre-cursor as it was just after enduring a disappointing end to their ODI World Cup campaign.
The real battle begins now with this series against Quinton de Kocks and Kagiso Rabadas, who are also in the midst of a tough transition phase.
A good spell from Rabada or a cameo from David Miller could pose challenge for the Indians, while some of the others like Test specialist Temba Bavuma or Anrich Nortje will like to prove their credentials in absence of Faf du Plessis or Hashim Amla.
There will be around 20 odd matches for captain Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri to build a near perfect combination going into the World T20 in Australia in October next year.
There are many questions that the team management will have to answer in the next 13 months during which IPL will also be held.
Save Kohli, his deputy Rohit Sharma, all-rounder Hardik Pandya and premier pacer Jasprit Bumrah (rested for this series), at least seven slots in playing XI and four more in the 15-member squad are up for grabs, with some bold steps on cards.
Retirement is Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s individual call but does the team management intend to look ahead like the selection committee does?
It is yet to be known and Rishabh Pant’s indiscretions doesn’t make it easier for Kohli and Shastri.
Manish Pandey has been in and around for years now and despite the kind of quality he possesses, the Karnataka batsman has not inspired highest confidence in the chances he got. (PTI)