In the unfortunate news, Indian all-rounder Kunal Pandya tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning, July 27, the second T20I day in Sri Lanka.
The BCCI said it had identified eight other members of the team as close associates of Krunal Pandya and therefore quarantine all of them.
Thus, the second match was postponed until Wednesday 28 July as the entire team was negative to return. If things go well, both teams will have to play back-to-back matches as the third T20 match will be played on July 29.
India are currently 1-0 up in the series, winning the first match by 38 runs on Sunday. Kunal Pandya, who was 7th in the back of the Indian innings, gave the visitors their first victory with a wicket of Minod Bhanuka in the third over after scoring 3 balls for 3 runs in the third over. He bowled 2 overs for 1/16 while his brother Hardik bowled two overs to complete the fifth bowler quota.
Now, as he has tested positive for the virus, Kunal Pandya is unlikely to play the remaining two T20Is as he needs proper rest. Also, despite the second string in the Indian team, there are backup players in place of the left hander.
3 Indian Players
Who Can Replace Krunal Pandya In The T20 Series ?
Nitish Rana was one of the five who made debut ODIs in the third. Left-handed batsman scored 7 while batting 7th; He bowled three overs of his part-time spin on the pitch, which helped the spinners.
Rana had a good first half in the IPL 2021 for the Kolkata Knight Riders: he got off to a good start with 57 in the first few games with 56 and 57, but his season was tempered to both runs and strikes rate.
However, Rana enjoys playing a short form of the game - he has 122 T20I experience, where he averages 27.63,strike rate 136.36. If selected he will add batting depth to the team, however, he is a less skilled bowler than Kunal Pandya.
Off-spinning all-rounder Krishnappa Gautam is another player who made his ODI debut in the third ODI. Right-handed batsman scored 2, opener Minod Bhanuka returned with a wicket; He was on the expensive side of 6.12 in his 8 overs - the surface helped his spin bowling.
He was convicted of bowling in the wrong lines; This is his first international game and as he does not have time to play in the IPL for CSK, this can be forgiven.
Gautam played only a few IPL matches for Punjab last season, where he scored 42 at 155.56, but was expensive with the ball with an economy of 10.50. Kunal Pandya could be replaced by his T20I cap in the second T20I against Sri Lanka, but this means a compromise in the batting department, which is unlikely to happen as India struggle to finish in the first match.
Rahul Chahar is likely to replace Krunal Pandya in the eleventh - however, this means the team will not have batting depth. But the form that Rahul has, the captain and the coach will be hard to ignore.
The leg-spinner took 11 wickets in 7 IPL 2021 matches for Mumbai Indians. Rahul, who made his ODI debut in the third ODI vs Sri Lanka, is India's best bowler with a score of 3/54, leaving the team alone in the game.
Chahar had earlier replaced senior leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in India's XI in the home T20 series against England. He has been Mumbai's premier spinner since IPL 2019 and has been instrumental in their last two title victories. Rahul Chahar is pushing Yuzvendra to the position of spinner in India XI for the T20 World Cup.