January 5: 1st T20I - India v Sri Lanka in Guwahati

Our XI: Kusal Perera, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Avishka Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Isuru Udana, Dasun Shanaka, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini

NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about a late injury (or other relevant) updates.

Captain: Jasprit Bumrah

He hasn't played white-ball cricket since the World Cup, and he is fresh off an injury break, but Bumrah usually gives you two outstanding overs at the top and two equally useful ones at the death. Potent with the new ball and deadly later on - always a must pick.

Vice-captain: Shikhar Dhawan

The thing with Dhawan is whenever you think his time with India is done, he comes roaring back. With no Rohit Sharma in the squad, expect Dhawan to be watchful, yet dominant, and Sri Lanka's new-ball attack isn't the most menacing either.

Hot picks

Virat Kohli

The obvious pick, but you'd rather have him in the team than not. Again, with Sharma unavailable, if India lose an early wicket, Kohli will shut his blinders and look to anchor the team through till the end. He has four scores of 70 or more in his last six home T20Is.

Kusal Perera

A more attractive wicketkeeper-batsman choice than Pant, considering his position at the top of the Sri Lankan batting order. Perera has the most T20I runs in his team, and has a handy T20I strike rate of 135 too.

Angelo Mathews

The experienced batsman hasn't played a T20I since 2018, but his last four ODI scores are 113, 48, 52* and 87. Do note, he rarely bowls these days.

Value picks

Isuru Udana: Playing against his future IPL captain, there'll be some extra motivation for Udana to impress this series. His variations at the death can fox batsmen trying to attack him, and he often bats at No. 6.

Dasun Shanaka: Over the last year, he has travelled around the world playing franchise cricket, even captaining a Bangladesh Premier League side in December. A partnership-breaker with the ball, Shanaka can hit big with the bat too.

Point to note

Question marks hover over how India's bowling will line up. Will they play both Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav? Or will some of Washington Sundar, Ravindra Jadeja and Shivam Dube make the cut? Make your final XI after the toss.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo