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Zimbabwe look to grab eyeballs as they come up against India’s future

The recent T20 World Cup champions received a warm reception upon returning home, yet amidst the celebrations, attention is already shifting towards the future.

Currently in Zimbabwe, a promising group of fifteen young Indian cricketers, led by Shubman Gill, are laying the groundwork for their own potential moments of glory, dreaming of future accolades such as open-top bus parades amidst adoring fans.

Several positions in the team are up for grabs. Shubman Gill, Abhishek Sharma, and Ruturaj Gaikwad are among those striving to secure their spots. Rinku Singh was present in Barbados but only as a reserve; he aims to change that situation. Riyan Parag is beginning to fulfill his potential, while Washington Sundar, injury-free at 24, could fill a crucial role as India looks for a new spin-bowling allrounder in their preferred playing eleven.

For Zimbabwe, the series against India represents an opportunity to make a mark, having missed out on the World Cup. Hosting India brings financial benefits and significant exposure, attracting attention from scouts looking for talent that could excel in global franchise tournaments. Cricket matches today offer more than just team glory; they are showcases for individual skills.

The current Indian squad is still a work in progress, meaning their final XIs may not cover all bases adequately. For instance, their batting lineup may only extend to number seven, which doesn’t quite align with their aggressive batting philosophy. Many players are yet to prove themselves at this level, although they have had limited exposure to it. Debut performances are anticipated, with up to four or five players potentially making their first appearances. Shubman Gill has confirmed that Abhishek Sharma will open the batting alongside him.

Zimbabwe is also in search of new talents. Notable players like Sean Williams and Craig Ervine are absent from this series, while Ryan Burl has been dropped. Wessly Madhevere and Brandon Mavuta, returning from four-month suspensions, are back in contention.

Probable lineups:
Zimbabwe: 1 Brian Bennett, 2 Tadiwanashe Marumani, 3 Sikandar Raza (capt), 4 Johnathan Campbell, 5 Antum Naqvi, 6 Clive Madande (wk), 7 Wessly Madhevere, 8 Luke Jongwe, 9 Faraz Akram, 10 Wellington Masakadza, 11 Blessing Muzarabani

India: 1 Shubman Gill (capt), 2 Abhishek Sharma, 3 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 4 Riyan Parag, 5 Rinku Singh, 6 Dhruv Jurel/Jitesh Sharma (wk), 7 Washington Sundar, 8 Ravi Bishnoi, 9 Avesh Khan, 10 Tushar Deshpande, 11 Khaleel Ahmed

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