Indian cricket team left for Sri Lanka on Sunday, where they will square off their Nidahas Trophy campaign against Sri Lanka. A fresh look Indian team will have a number of new faces in the squad with the likes of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli along with other senior players being given a rest after a gruelling South Africa tour. The Nidahas Trophy will be a Tri-nation T20 contest between India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Ahead of their opening game against Sri Lanka, India’s stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma has ruled out his team as favourites going into the competition.

Rohit stated that the shorter format of the game is unpredictable and that he would refrain from putting India as favourites even if the team will be up against a relatively low key opposition. Team India in the absence of a majority of senior players will be depending on the youngsters, who would be expected to make full use of the opportunity and prove their mettle in the tri-series. “We won’t label ourselves as favourites. The T20 format is unpredictable and you got to be on the money at all times. Both our oppositions are strong and we look forward to a good contest,” said Rohit Sharma ahead of team India’s first Nidahas Trophy 2018 encounter with Sri Lanka.

India after losing the Test series against South Africa in the recently concluded tour, bounced back strongly to clinch the six-match ODI series 5-1 and the T20 series 2-1. A host of senior members of the team were given a much-needed break after the historic tour which saw India register its maiden ODI series triumph on the South African soil. Captain Virat Kohli, veteran MS Dhoni, pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah were all left out of the squad.

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Young guns like Deepak Hooda and Vijay Shankar earned a national call-up and will be looking forward to the tournament before they go into the Indian Premier League 2018 with their respective teams. The Nidahas Trophy 2018 will have total seven games with the finals slated on March 18. All the games will be played at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. The three teams will be facing each other twice in the competition which has been organised after almost 20 years to mark the 70th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence.

Ahead of their game against India, the Sri Lankan coach said he is not undermining a young India and stated that the Men in Blue are one of the top sides and cannot be taken for granted. “If you go by the rankings, India is the top team in the tournament, so they always start ahead of the other teams,” Hathurusingha said on the eve of the tournament. He added, “Whoever plays for India, it is still a very strong team. We have to start well because we haven’t been doing well at home. With Bangladesh, because of the last series, we probably have a little edge over them mentally.”

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India squad for the Nidahas Trophy 2018:

Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammad Siraj, Rishabh Pant (wk)

Schedule:

March 6: Sri Lanka v India

March 8: Bangladesh v India

March 10: Sri Lanka v Bangladesh

March 12: India v Sri Lanka

March 14: India v Bangladesh

March 16: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka

March 18: Final

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