International Cricket

India vs SL 2021: Predicted Playing 11 for 1st ODI – Suryakumar to debut

India vs Sri Lanka (SL) 2021: Suryakumar Yadav expected to debut as we take a look at the predicted playing 11 for Team India for the 1st ODI. 

In all excitement, the young guns of Team India under the leadership of veteran Shikhar Dhawan are set to take on Sri Lanka in 2 days’ time. The postponement of the series by a few days due to COVID-19 symptoms in the Sri Lankan camp has only increased the curiosity. 

The series can be called a dress rehearsal leading to the T20 World Cup scheduled later this year. Barring a few senior players, the series would be all about trying new players. If Rahul Dravid’s history is anything to go by, almost every player on the tour is expected to play.

So, as we begin the tour with the ODI series, the first question on everyone’s mind would be the playing 11. It is definitely going to be a tough call on the final playing 11. In this article, we will decode the predicted playing 11 for the 1st ODI of the 2021 India vs Sri Lanka (SL) tour.

India vs Sri Lanka 2021 Series – Official Squad for Team India: 

Batsmen: Devdutt Padikkal, Ishan Kishan (WK), Hardik Pandya, Manish Pandey, Nitish Rana, Prithvi Shaw, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sanju Samson (WK), Shikhar Dhawan (C) & Suryakumar Yadav   

All-rounders: Krishnappa Gowtham & Krunal Pandya

Bowlers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar (VC), Chetan Sakariya, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy & Yuzvendra Chahal

Openers: Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw

Shikhar Dhawan, for the first time in his International career, would be leading an Indian side. Currently the eldest person in the current Indian team at 35, Dhawan would want to lead the side right from the front. Dhawan will definitely open, but who will open with him would be interesting. 

In all likelihood, Dhawan’s Delhi Capitals opening partner, Prithvi Shaw should take the center stage as an opener for the first ODI. That means the talented duo of Padikkal and Gaikwad will have to wait a while before getting a game.

Middle-order: Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, and Manish Pandey

Suryakumar Yadav, who only recently made his T20I debut against England should make his ODI debut with the Sri Lanka series. One of the most experienced domestic cricketers, if Surya can make a mark on the tour, he has all the chance of being a regular feature in the Indian side. 

The number 4 and 5 should see Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson, and Manish Pandey competing for the spots. Manish Pandey was a regular feature of the Indian ODI side before getting sidelined due to lack of form. But experience has its value, and that should prompt India to play him at 5.

Manish Pandey's scores in last 10 ODIs // Cricalytics
Manish Pandey’s scores in the last 10 ODIs // Cricalytics

The choice for the wicket-keeper between Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan should be a tough one. While the current form says Sanju should be preferred, the fact that Ishan was preferred ahead of Sanju in the England series and him being a left-hander should prompt India to play Kishan ahead of Sanju.

All-rounders: Hardik Pandya & Krunal Pandya

There’s no doubt on the all-rounders for the first ODI. Hardik would be rolling his arm over for a few overs. He did try that during nets, and is expected to bowl a few overs. If Hardik does that, it should ease off some pressure from Krunal Pandya; who should play as the second all-rounder of the squad. 

Pacers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar

Team India’s vice-captain, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is expected to lead the pace bowling department alongside Deepak Chahar. Both bowlers are excellent in the Powerplay, and can bowl efficiently in the death overs too. The fact that Hardik expected to give a few overs should only ease off some burden from them. 

Spinners: Kuldeep Yadav & Yuzvendra Chahal

If Hardik Pandya gives those important 4-5 overs then Team India won’t hesitate to play the KulCha combination in the spin department. It would be one of the most awaited scenarios as whenever KulCha played together, they did well. Meanwhile, the spin duo of Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy will have to wait a while. 

India vs Sri Lanka 2021: Predicted Playing 11 for Team India for 1st ODI:

Shikhar Dhawan (C), Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (WK), Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav & Yuzvendra Chahal

So that completes the predicted playing 11 for the 1st ODI. Given this is the first ODI, it would be interesting to see what playing 11 do Team India play. KulCha can get a good dimension to the bowling department with spin expected to play a good role in SL. Other than that, the middle-order combination will be in focus for the final selection. 

Thanks for reading! What’s your playing 11 for the 2021 India vs Sri Lanka (SL) 1st ODI? Please, email your thoughts to

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