Match Preview – Ireland vs India, India in Ireland 2023, 1st T20I

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Big Picture – Will India hand Rinku a debut?

Think twice before you call it a low-key, out-of-place series. Jasprit Bumrah, returning to international cricket for the first time in 11 months, is the obvious headline-grabber, but this series will also give several India players the chance to push themselves into the reckoning for next year’s T20 World Cup. For Ireland, it will be a chance to gauge where they stand in the format and make use of the game-time before the big tournament.

India will also want to start ironing out the issues that surfaced during their T20I series loss to West Indies. India coach Rahul Dravid had recognised batting depth as a challenge during that series, and India will need to identify a No. 8 in addition to back-ups for various other roles.

As for Bumrah’s return, several key questions remain: will he be able to bowl with the same consistency as before? He looked comfortable in the nets on Wednesday, in a sneak-peek video that included him bowling a toe-crusher and a searing bouncer, which are encouraging signs. Can he remain fit and injury-free for the upcoming Asia Cup and World Cup? His last two attempted comebacks didn’t go too well for him, remember. And how will he fare as captain?

Another positive for India heading into the series is Prasidh Krishna returning after a lengthy injury layoff. The series will also serve as an audition for IPL stars Jitesh Sharma and Rinku Singh, who could play key roles in India’s middle order. It’s also a chance for one of Shahbaz Ahmed, Washington Sundar and Shivam Dube to stake their claim for an allrounder slot.

The hosts, meanwhile, are coming into the series having sealed their place in the 2024 T20 World Cup after finishing in the top two in the Europe Qualifier. They have run India close in the past, but haven’t managed a win in five meetings so far. Will this be their best chance to put a W in their column?

Weather permitting, we’ll have some answers soon.

Form guide

Ireland LWWWW (Last five completed T20Is; most recent first)

In the spotlight – Mark Adair and Prasidh Krishna

Mark Adair is the third-highest wicket-taker in T20Is this year, with 23 wickets in 11 games. The seam-bowling allrounder also finished as the joint-highest wicket-taker in the recently concluded T20 World Cup Europe Qualifier, with 12 wickets in five games, in addition to scoring a 72 off 36 balls in a losing cause against Scotland in the last game of the tournament. Ireland will bank on Adair and their other pace options to threaten India’s second-string batting line-up.

Prasidh Krishna was a big part of India’s ODI plans a year ago, having traveled to England, the West Indies and Zimbabwe before a lower-back injury took him out of the game for a year. His performance and fitness on his international comeback will be monitored closely by the selectors ahead of the Asia Cup. He featured in the Maharaja T20 on Sunday, finishing with 1 for 13 in two overs in Mysuru Warriors’ defeat to Hubli Tigers.

Team news – Samson or Jitesh?

With Neil Rock left out of the squad, Fionn Hand is likely to take the No. 6 spot in the Ireland line-up.

Ireland possible XI: 1 Paul Stirling (capt), 2 Andrew Balbirnie, 3 Lorcan Tucker (wk), 4 Harry Tector, 5 Curtis Campher, 6 Fionn Hand, 7 George Dockrell, 8 Mark Adair, 9 Barry Mccarthy, 10 Josh Little, 11 Ben White.

Will India continue with Sanju Samson behind the stumps, or will they bring in Jitesh, who showcased his ability as a finisher in the IPL this year?

India possible XI: 1 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 2 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 3 Tilak Varma, 4 Rinku Singh, 5 Sanju Samson/Jitesh Sharma (wk), 6 Shivam Dube, 7 Washington Sundar/Shahbaz Ahmed, 8 Arshdeep Singh, 9 Ravi Bishnoi, 10 Jasprit Bumrah (capt), 11 Prasidh Krishna.

Stats and trivia

  • Bumrah will be India’s 11th captain in T20Is. Only South Africa (15) and West Indies (13) have had more. Sri Lanka and Australia have also had 11 captains each.
  • Adair needs three more wickets to become the first Ireland bowler to take 100 T20I wickets

Pitch and conditions

There’s a yellow warning for rainfall starting 4pm on Friday in Dublin. It is expected to be breezy, with periods of rain forecast in the evening. The average score batting first at Malahide is 167.


“I’m coming back after a long time, I just want to enjoy. I’ve never stayed away from the game from this long. I’m not thinking ‘I’ll do this, I’ll do that,’ or ‘I have to contribute a lot.’ I have come here to enjoy it because I like cricket. Expectations, I’m not keeping too much of it.”
India captain Jasprit Bumrah

“We only have a limited time between now and the end of the 2023 domestic season, so it’s also crucial that we use what opportunities we have to provide exposure and experience to a pool of players who we believe are in contention for making that World Cup squad. I would expect that all of the 15 players named in the India series squad will feature at some point.”
Ireland men’s national selector Andrew White

Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo