Suresh Raina (left) and Joe Root are expected to return for India and England respectively for the 1st T20I at Kanpur    Getty Images
Suresh Raina (left) and Joe Root are expected to return for India and England respectively for the 1st T20I at Kanpur Getty Images

From the Ganges basin of Kolkata to the one of Kanpur, the teams move north as the iconic Green Park readies itself for its first ever T20I. India and England clash in the first T20I of the 3-match series that begins on the Republic Day. Tim Cook, Apple Inc. CEO was here at the venue for an IPL game in 2016 and was blown away by the capacity crowd. Expect the same on the national holiday. The ODI series was high scoring and Kanpur promises the same.

From MS Dhoni refusing singles in the final over to Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes to Eoin Morgan‘s hoisting Ashok Dinda out of the ground for a last ball-six triumph, India and England T20I clashes have seen plenty of intensity. It is still winter in north India and constraints of visibility due to fog and the dew factor has forced the organisers to push the game ahead. The cooler conditions will help the visitors and India will not mind as Champions Trophy in England will provide similar conditions as well.

The shortest format is a different ball game altogether but India will still look forward to take away positives from this and use it as a preparatory platform for the Champions Trophy.

India s perspective: The likes of Rishabh Pant, Mandeep Singh, and Pervez Rasool can be tested for their big-match temperament, while Suresh Raina and Amit Mishra have been presented with a door of opportunity to knock on. India have the core in place but setting up a strong bench is key for a quality side.

The occasion marks Virat Kohli s first T20I appearance as captain. However, having led in IPL since 2012, he is familiar to the task. He has MS Dhoni to guide him and with the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra, Raina and Mishra around, the team has a good blend of youth and experience.

To put things into perspective, Pant was a-year-and-a-half old when Nehra had made his international debut. However, both trained under Delhi s renowned coach Tarak Sinha.

Mishra and Raina will be under spotlight. Mishra had bagged the Man of the Series against New Zealand in October, only to find himself benched for the ODIs against England. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been rested for this series and here comes Mishra as the side s lead spinner.

Mishra is the most successful Indian bowler in IPL history. A good show here will strengthen his claim for the Champions Trophy spot. His case is similar to that of local boy Raina, the most successful batsman in IPL history. Raina, too, had missed the opportunity during the New Zealand series after he went down with a bout of flu; it went on to become Kedar Jadhav s gain.

I have only opened once or maybe twice for India, but I have experience opening in the IPL. If need be then I could or I might not depending on the balance of the side. There are all kinds of possibilities, said Kohli on Wednesday.

Kohli opens for his Royal Challengers Bangalore. He amassed close to 1,000 runs last year. If Kohli moves to the top, this will give an opportunity to try out Raina at No.3, a position where he has found a lot of T20 success. Even his T20I hundred came at that number.

Nehra is set for a comeback as well after his knee surgery and will lead the pace mantle with ICC s No. 2 T20I bowler Jasprit Bumrah. Bhuvneshwar Kumar too can expect a game at his home ground. Nehra, Bumrah and Bhuvi will be joined by Hardik Pandya as fourth seamer.

Raina and Yuvraj, if required can add extra spin assistance to Mishra.

Mandeep Singh will keep the out-of-form KL Rahul. However, it must be reminded that that Rahul s hundred at Florida was only 2 T20Is back. Manish Pandey is expected to take over the finishing role from Jadhav for the compressed format.

England s perspective: The Test and ODI series have gone India s way. The T20I trophy is England s chance to return home with some smiles. To their credit, they have an upper hand against India in this format. Less than a year back they had stunned the world when they made it to the World T20 final in similar conditions. Four sixes off Carlos Brathwaite had ended the dream run for Morgan s men but there are plenty of positives to look forward.

England had registered their first win in this tour in the Kolkata ODI. They will expect to carry the momentum. Joe Root, one of their heroes from World T20, returns to the side after a niggle, while pacer David Willey has been ruled out.

All eyes are on left-arm quick Tymal Mills, who is expected to make a major difference with express pace. However Kohli dismissed the Mills threat.

I have played many bowlers with the calibre of bowling 90 mph, so it makes no difference to me. Yes, I will make a comment on Mills bowling only after playing against him, Kohli said.

Injury to Hales and Willey are setbacks no doubt, but in Morgan, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes England have plenty of firepower.

It was Jadhav who lit up the Eden Gardens chase. It needed four special deliveries in the ultimate over from Chris Woakes to script an English win. Surprisingly, both these men did not find a place in their respective squads for the T20Is.

India vs England: Stats

India s T20I rank: 2

England s T20I rank: 5

Head-to-head (Overall)

Played: 8 | India: 3 | England: 5

Head-to-head (in India)

Played: 3 | India: 1 | England: 2

Most Runs:

Virat Kohli – 184 runs | HS: 66 | Ave: 30.66 | SR: 140.45

Eoin Morgan – 176 runs | HS: 71 | Ave: 44 | SR: 177.77

Most Wickets:

Harbhajan Singh – 8 wickets | BB: 4-12 | Ave: 9.62 | Econ R: 6.41

Jade Dernbach – 7 wickets | BB: 4-22 | Ave: 22.42 | Econ R: 8.41


India: Virat Kohli (c), MS Dhoni (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), KL Rahul (wk), Mandeep Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, , Parvez Rasool, Amit Mishra, Yuzvendra Chahal.

England: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings (wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jason Roy, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Jake Ball, Chris Jordan, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Tymal Mills, Adil Rashid, David Willey.

Time: 4.30 pm (IST) | 11 am (GMT)