3 Players Who Have Excelled in Sri Lanka T20 Series

India has begun 2023 with a T20 series victory over Sri Lanka. Captained by Hardik Pandya, the hosts prevailed 2-1, with a 91-run success coming in the deciding contest in Rajkot.

The hosts opted to rest some of their big names during the series, including BCCI captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Here is a look at three players who took full advantage of their chance in the team and have enhanced their reputations in international T20 cricket.

Deepak Hooda

In the opening game of the series, Deepak Hooda top-scored for India, as he hit 41 runs from just 23 balls. It included one four and four sixes. Those runs in the final stages of the innings helped the hosts to 162, which proved too much for Sri Lanka to chase down.

Hooda has played just seven T20Is for India so he is in the early stages of his international career. He moved to the Lucknow Super Giants in 2022, one of the newest IPL teams involved in the competition. Their owners, RPSG Group, also own Durbanโ€™s Super Giants, who have odds of 4/1 in the SA20 betting in the inaugural year of the South African T20 league (on January 7). The Indian batsman will not be featuring for Lucknowโ€™s sister franchise despite missing out on the India squad for the three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka.

The 27-year-old will be hoping to be back involved for India when they host New Zealand for three T20s in late January and early February. His primary goal in 2023 will be to ensure he is named in Indiaโ€™s squad for the 2023 Cricket World Cup where they will host the tournament for the first time since 2011.

Axar Patel

As you can see from the BBC scorecard from the game, spinner Axar Patel took the key wickets of Pathum Nissanka and Dhananjaya de Silva in the second T20 against Sri Lanka. Just like in the opening contest of the series, he also scored runs with the bat, as he hit 65 from 31 balls in the defeat.

Patel is proving very useful down the batting order in T20I. He is ensuring India has a lot of depth to their line-up as he comes in a number eight, just behind Hooda. If he continues to score as heavily as he has in this series, he will soon be considered a strong all-rounder by the selectors, which helps his chances of remaining in the limited-overs teams.

The 28-year-old is set to return to the IPL this year for the Delhi Capitals. He has scored over 1,000 runs and picked up over 100 wickets in the competition for the former IPL finalists. This season will be his 10th year in the franchise league, so he has a lot of experience. He was named the Emerging Player of the Tournament in 2014, while in 2021, he had an excellent campaign, which is what caught the eye of the national team selectors.

Suryakumar Yadav

2022 was a big year in the career of Suryakumar Yadav. He ended it as the number one ranked T20 batsman in the ICC rankings. As Reuters reported, he has also started 2023 well, with a century going his way in the third and deciding T20 international against Sri Lanka. He scored 112 runs from 51 deliveries in that game.

The Mumbai Indians batsman has only played 45 T20Is but he already has three centuries and 13 50s to his name. At the end of the Sri Lanka series, his average is up to 44.55 for India in this format of the game.

Yadav showed during the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia that he enjoys the big occasions. He scored the fourth-fastest half-century for India when he got to 50 in just 25 balls in their victory over the Netherlands. Unfortunately for the talented middle-order batter and India, they proved no match for England in the semi-final of the ICC competition.

Along with Sharma and Kohli, Yadav is now seen as one of the first names on the team sheet for his country in T20 cricket. He looks set for another big year domestically and internationally in the white-ball game.

Indiaโ€™s T20 team is back in action on January 27 in their first of three matches with New Zealand. Expect the hosts to welcome back some of their big names to the squad for that series.