The duo over the next 11 months will be emphasizing the template and ethos of “Men In Blue” in the shortest format after it becomes clear that a revamp will be needed as part of the course correction.
The disappointment of the UAE edition forced India to look beyond Hardik Pandya, who for a long time was unable to bring his versatile skills to the table.
IPL star performer Venkatesh Iyer has been named as Hardik’s replacement and the three games will likely give an indication if he can be prepared for the all-around fast bowling slot he so badly needs.
India can also do with more power hitters in the batting department and Venkatesh, who played for KKR this IPL, has shown his ability to hit long and big.
Other IPL artists who have been selected in the squad are Ruturaj Gaikwad, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan and Yuzvendra Chahal, who is making a comeback after being controversially left out of the World Cup squad.
With Jasprit Bumah rested for the series, India will be looking to find another pacemaker, capable of consistently clocking 140km/h and above. As seen in the UAE, the extra pace always comes in handy, bringing Avesh and Mohammad Siraj into the picture.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was not at his best in the UAE, was given another opportunity to find his best game.
The think tank comprising skipper Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid will also assess a player’s usefulness bearing in mind Australian conditions as the country hosts the World Cup in less than 12 months. .
There are five shortest format openings on the side and placing them in various mid-order positions will be a challenge.
Rohit and vice-captain KL Rahul are expected to open on Wednesday, but India may be tempted to experiment with more options like Ishan Kishan and Gaikwad. In fact, even Venkatesh has opened all of his runs for KKR, but he’s ready to beat in the middle order.
Suryakumar Yadav couldn’t find his groove during the World Cup but he’s a player India would look to groom at number four, especially for the real grounds in Australia.
In the absence of a rested Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel can fill the all-round spin bowler spot while R Ashwin is expected to retain his spot in the playing XI after an impressive clean ball comeback in the UAE.
India had only five bowlers to choose from for most of the World Cup, while other top teams had up to seven options. As a result, one of the specialty hitters could be seen rolling his arm.
Their opponents New Zealand, who effectively eliminated India from the World Cup, reached Jaipur on a chartered flight from Dubai with little time to reflect on their loss to Australia in the title clash .
Head coach Gary Stead has previously spoken of the challenges his team faces having to regroup so quickly after a grueling event like the World Cup.
Skipper Kane Williamson was given rest for the T20s to be fresh for the next round of testing. Seasoned pacer Tim Southee will lead the team in his absence.
However, with Trent Boult for company and the dangerous Daryl Mitchell in the lead, New Zealand will be more than a handful in this series.
New Zealand could give opportunities to players who had little to do with the Emirates, including Kyle Jamieson who only played the preparation matches.
One of the interesting clashes will be skipper Rohit against Ish Sodhi as the Indian captain has had wrist issues in the past.
India: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohammad Siraj.
New Zealand: Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Adam Milne, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee (captain).
The match starts at 7 p.m. IST.