Author : Vignesh Ananthasubramanian
The 2013 Champions League T20 has become history and many exciting tournaments are at stake for the cricket lovers for the next one year such as India’s proposed tour to South Africa, Sachin’s farewell series against West Indies, Ashes return leg, IPL and most importantly all the teams will begin their preparation for the 2015 world cup that will be played in Australia and New Zealand.
In between, the ICC World T20 is slated to take place in Bangladesh. When it comes to the shortest format of the game, one cannot simply beat the West Indians. But one team that shows more promise to get the better of Caribbean men is India. India too got a galaxy of exciting T20 talents courtesy the Indian Premier League.
Unveiling of ICC World T20 2014, Bangladesh
With the 2014 World T20 scheduled to take place in the sub continent, India are firm favourites to be crowned as champions. India’s preparation for the 2014 World T20 began on October 10 in Rajkot where the Indians humbled the Aussies in a one-off T20 fixture courtesy a fine comeback innings from Yuvraj Singh. The current young and experienced Indian team is hungry for success and will look to taste glory in the 2014 ICC World T20.
Right from the 18 year old Sanju Samson to the 41 year old Pravin Tambe, India have a strong pool of players to choose from. Their bench strength is strong, has a good depth, variety and most importantly the positive mindset of the players along with their determination to win laurels for their country.
Can India win yet another T20 World Cup?
The tournament might be more than seven months away but the Indian team can be formulated as early as today. The starting XI will be: MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and 2 more medium pacers.
In the starting lineup, nine players are automatic choices but as always the fast bowling department will be a worry for the team management. Apart from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, no other pacer looks certain to cement a spot in the XI. This should be a real headache for skipper MS Dhoni because the 2015 world cup takes place in the fast and bouncy tracks of Australia.
India’s pace bowling heroes in the victorious 2007 T20 world cup are unlikely to make it to the squad as Sreesanth is banned for his involvement in the IPL spot fixing scandal, RP Singh and Joginder Sharma are almost forgotten both by the selectors and the fans and all rounder Irfan Pathan is spending more time in hospitals rather than cricketing field. Here are some of the other fast bowling options for MSD & Co for the World T20.
Varun Aaron, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav
He is the fastest Indian bowler at the moment. He has been in and out of the squad for a while. He is also a very experienced who could rattle the opposition with his pace. He is a certainty in the 15 man squad but his presence in the playing XI depends on his form in the coming tournaments.
The tall and lanky pacer has been an integral part of the Indian team for a while. He has the pace along with some good variations in his armory. He has gained the confidence of his skipper that makes MS Dhoni to use him well. In all likelihood he is expected to be a part of the playing XI.
He along with his utter Pradesh teammate Bhuvneshwar Kumar forms a deadly combination with the new ball. He can swing the new ball both the ways and is difficult to hit through in the first six overs. Most often he completes his quota of overs with in the first eight overs as he can go for runs in the slog overs. He is one of the Indian pacers who have a good accuracy with the Yorkers. He hasn’t played an International game for a while and that could hamper his chances for the T20 world cup.
The young medium pacer from Haryana made his mark in the 2013 edition of the Indian Premier League. He had an impressive IPL that led to a maiden call up to the national side. He had a good debut series for India against Zimbabwe and was later dropped from the squad for the subsequent ODI series against Australia. He is surely in the scheme of things for the future tour.
He is a consistent performer in the domestic circuit over the last few years. He has been in and out of the team for a while. He had a good 2013 IPL and followed it with an impressive run in West Indies, Zimbabwe and in the current ODI series against Australia. He has the variation needed in limited overs cricket and uses his round arm action to good effect to confuse the batsmen with the trajectory of the ball.
India also has some talented newcomers like Jaydev Unadkat and Shami Ahmed along with veterans Aashish Nehra, Ashok Dinda, Varun Aaron and Lakshmipathy Balaji in the bench. It won’t be a surprise if India recalls their best bowler Zaheer Khan in build up to the 2015 World Cup.
Indian Openers – A deadly Combo
The batting line up looks strong and settled. But there can be two different batting orders having the same line up. The same batting order can be rotated according to the need of the team. The team management can go in with the same line up they use for ODI’s i.e. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan opening the innings.
The opening pair is settled and they can set a platform for the batsmen down the order to go for the kill. But this does not allow India’s best T20 batsman Suresh Raina to set in and play a long innings as he comes out to bat after the fall of fourth or fifth wicket.
But Raina can be made to bat higher up the order if the team management decides to go in with the following lineup: Dhawan, Virat, Raina, Yuvraj, Rohit, Dhoni, and Jadeja.
Position of Kohli and Raina matters the most in T20′s
The reason behind Virat Kohli opening the innings is that it allows Raina to occupy the number 3 spot in which he did wonders for his IPL side Chennai Super Kings. This can be a deadly lineup because Kohli has had a good stint as an opener in the few games he played. Also the fact that Rohit Sharma is simply a brute force in the middle order for Mumbai Indians fancies this case more to be considered by the team management.
Whatever the lineup is Yuvraj Singh will be playing at number 4 and MS Dhoni will play the role of finisher which should be a threat to the opposition.
The current Indian side is considered the best fielding side at the moment. Just imagine the packed offside field that has Yuvraj Singh at backward point, Rohit Sharma at cover point, Virat Kohli at covers, Shikhar Dhawan at mid-off. Even a single is very tough to take.
The side also has Suresh Raina at slips and Ravindra Jadeja at square leg. MS Dhoni even transformed the slowest fielder of this current Indian team, R Ashwin as one of the finest slip fielder at the moment.
The current Indian side comprising of Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma
Yuvraj Singh is back in the Indian side with a new avatar in which he is much fitter and thinner courtesy some training sessions in France.
With Yuvi back in the fold, the opposition batsmen have to be careful and think twice before playing a ball in the air or before taking a single.
The current team is very hungry for glory and players do not hesitate to throw their body to save runs as well as taking some spectacular catches.
The Captain Marvel MS Dhoni
There a pool of players who are likely to make it to the squad even if not in the playing XI. The likes of Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Amit Mishra and Amit Mishra have equal chances of booking a ticket to the T20 carnival. It won’t be a surprise if the selectors choose to go in with Pravin Tambe who had an outstanding CLT20.
The current team looks as strong favourites atleast on paper to lift the 2014 T20 world cup. But we all know that in T20’s there is every possibility for an upset.
As of now, Indian bowling is a worry. But the confidence of this generation of Indian batsmen is unbelievable, they are treating tough targets with irreverence. So chasing huge targets won’t be a problem for Indian batters.