Twenty20 International Tri-Series between Full Members are like the proverbial London buses – you wait ages, and then two come along straight after each other! Hot on the heels of Australia, New Zealand and England making history with the first such series earlier this year, now the subcontinent teams are getting in on the act. The tournament is being held to mark 70 years of Sri Lankan independence.
Sri Lanka plays hosts to the Nidahas Trophy starting on Tuesday 6th March. The series features India and Bangladesh alongside the hosts, with each of the three sides playing each other twice, followed by a final. All games take place at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
India will be strong favourites, despite resting key members of their first choice team like skipper Virat Kohli and legendary keeper MS Dhoni. They are ranked third in the world in T20 Internationals, hosts Sri Lanka eighth, and Bangladesh down in tenth. India are also in much better form having won their last three T20 International series (against South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand).
For their part, the hosts’ last two series were against their current opponents, having beaten Bangladesh and lost to India in recent times. Bangladesh will also have to overcome their record of never having beaten India in a T20 international.
All three sides are without their first choice T20 captain in this tournament. The hosts’ skipper Angelo Mathews is out injured, as is Bangladesh’s leader, Shakib Al Hasan. The teams will be led instead by Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Chandimal and Mahmudullah respectively.
With a slightly inexperienced squad having been named by India, there are potential international debuts for allrounders Deepak Hooda and Vijay Shankar.
Aside from that, there are a number of potential personal milestones to watch out for as the tournament unfolds:
Rohit Sharma (India)
India’s stand-in captain has 74 Twenty20 Intermational caps, seeing him in eleventh place in the world all-time rankings. If India make it to the final, and Rohit pays every game, he will rocket up to eighth place in that list. New Zealand’s Martin Guptill and the two South Africans JP Duminy and AB de Villiers are the men in sight.
Rohit currently has 1,679 runs to his name in the format, which sees him in tenth place in the world all-time. He could move up four or five places in this list during the tournament. JP Duminy currently sits in fifth place on 1,822 runs, less than 150 ahead. Umar Akmal, David Warner, Mohammad Shahzad and Shoaib Malik are the others potentially in reach.
Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka)
All=rounder Perera is in reach of milestones with both the bat and ball during this tournament. He needs 136 runs to become the fifth Sri Lankan to score 1,000 runs in the format. With the ball, he needs just one wicket to notch up 50.
Bangladesh’s captain is 79 runs shy of 1,000 Twenty20 International runs. He will become just the third Bangladeshi to do so if he succeeds.
Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh)
Rahim has 48 dimissals (23 catches, 25 stumpings) to his name in the format, enough for 7th place worldwide. Five more in the series would see him move up to fourth past Denesh Ramdin, Umar Akmal and Mohammad Shahzad.