After reports emerged about a possible bilateral series between India and Pakistan, the fans are going crazy over the news. As per the Pakistan newspaper ‘The Jang’, there is a six-day window available for a three-match T20I series later in the year. Although the two nations have clashed in ICC events, there has been no bilateral series between them for last 9 years due to political tensions between the two governments.
It was in 2012 when Pakistan had visited India for 2-match T20I series which ended 1-1. Let us have a look at the Indian side that took on Pakistan then and the probable team that could face their neighboring nation now.
India's playing XI against Pakistan - Then and Now
1. Ajinkya Rahane (2012) : Rohit Sharma (2021)
Ajinkya Rahane was part of the side that played against Pakistan 9 years back. However, he will be replaced by another Mumbaikar in the form of Rohit Sharma at top of the order. While Rohit was also a member of that side, he used to play the role of a finisher. But Hitman completely revamped his image and batting position in years to come. India's limited-overs vice-captain is presently one of the most explosive T20I openers in world cricket and will undoubtedly take that slot in the side.
2. Gautam Gambhir (2012) : Virat Kohli (2021)
It was Gautam Gambhir who played at top of the order for India in 2012. However, it will be his former Delhi teammate Virat Kohli who will take that role now. While Kohli was also a part of that side, a lot has changed for him since then. Apart from getting India's captaincy, the 32-year-old has also had a change in batting position recently. After playing at No. 3 for so many years, it looks like Kohli is the new opener for India in this format alongside Rohit Sharma
3. Virat Kohli (2012) : Suryakumar Yadav (2021)
While Kohli batted at No. 3 at that time, it will be another aggressive player Suryakumar Yadav who will play that role now. The 30-year-old was fantastic at this position for Men in Blue in the recently-concluded T20I series against England. The MI batsman certainly has a similar attacking intent like Kohli and is mature enough to play this all-important role for India.
4. Yuvraj Singh (2012) : Shreyas Iyer (2021)
It was Yuvraj Singh who used to be the backbone of India's middle-order 9 years ago. Men in Blue have found a new rising superstar to play that role now in the form of Shreyas Iyer. Although the 26-year-old is currently ruled out of action due to a shoulder injury, he would be back for India by that time and will take that No. 4 slot where he has been playing for a while.
5. MS Dhoni (2012) : Rishabh Pant (2021)
MS Dhoni was India's skipper and wicketkeeper when India played the T20I series against Pakistan in 2012. However, the 39-year-old has retired from international cricket now and India has found a new wicketkeeping gem in Rishabh Pant. The left-handed batsman has finally found a place in the hearts of fans with his performances and has also cemented a spot in the side.
6. Suresh Raina (2012) : Hardik Pandya (2021)
Suresh Raina used to be India's all-rounder at that time. With the southpaw also retired, it is Hardik Pandya who has been playing that role for India in limited-overs cricket for a while. While Raina had won a lot of games for the country in past, it is time for Hardik Pandya to play to his abilities and win more matches for India.
7. Rohit Sharma (2012) : Washington Sundar (2021)
While it was Rohit Sharma who used be the off-spinning all-rounder for India then, it will be Washington Sundar who has been playing that role for Men in Blue recently. The 21-year-old is known for his ability to ball economically in the shortest format and can take some crucial wickets for his side. He can also chip in with a few runs lower down the order and is a vital cog for Indian in T20 format.
8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2012) : Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2021)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar notably made his debut in that T20I series against Pakistan in 2012. The cycle would be completed in 2021 when the youngster who announced his arrival to international cricket will lead the pace attack against the same opposition. After his impressive performances post his layoff due to injury, Bhuvi would be really excited to do well in this series.
9. Ravichandran Ashwin (2012) : Yuzvendra Chahal (2021)
Ravichandran Ashwin used to be the player for Men in Blue to take wickets in the middle-overs. However, the role of a lead spinner will now be taken by Yuzvendra Chahal. The RCB spinner has been sensational for India in recent times in limited-overs. Although he was replaced by Rahul Chahar in the recently-concluded T20I series against England, it is expected that Chahal should be back in the playing XI by then.
10. Ishant Sharma (2012) : Jasprit Bumrah (2021)
Ishant Sharma used to be the lethal bowler in India's pace attack to scare the opposition. Now that role will be played by Jasprit Bumrah who is known as T20 specialist. The 27-year-old is one of the best death bowlers in world cricket right now and will be raring to play his first bilateral series against Pakistan.
11. Ashok Dinda (2012) : Shardul Thakur (2021)
While it was Ashok Dinda who used to be the 3rd pacer for India, that role is now expected to be taken by Shardul Thakur. The 29-year-old has worked on a lot of new deliveries like knuckle ball, fast off-cutters etc. which has made him an exciting T20 bowler. He was the leading wicket-taker for India against England in the 5-match T20I series and is expected to play the role of third seamer in the side in times to come.