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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Indias gains at the warm-ups of World Cup

After winning the first two warm-up matches in the World Cup, did the Indian team gain anything? Plenty of confidence to start with. During the last version in 2003, the Indian team met Netherlands first and literally struggled to score runs. That Netherlands was way far behind in terms of potential helped the Indian team to win the match easily.

This time, the Indians met the Holland team again - scored 300 while batting first and dismissed the opposition with 182 runs in the bank. Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar scored half-centuries, while most of the others got a start (Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, MS Dhoni, Pathan) without going on further. The bowling was decent with part-timer Yuvi snaring 4 wickets. All the other bowlers did their jobs well picking up a wicket or two. The wickets again showed that they were on the lower side, as expected based on India's previous tour. This was important for the Indians to shrug off their jet-lag and get used to the wickets and conditions on the Island.

The second match was against tougher opposition - the holders West Indies. It was expected to be a well-challenged one, since the indians had lost the round in WI (1-4) while winning on home-soil (3-1). But, the batting of the West Indians left a lot to be desired and faltered against some disciplined bowling. The Indian batters finished the match in less than 20 overs. The pace bowlers must have obtained a great deal of confidence from this match, with their spoils. This gives them a good platform to start the Cup on a confident note.

As usual, all are pointing to the fact that Sehwag and Pathan did not answer their fans with typical performances. The answer to this could be to play both of them for the first 2 matches, since they are against the minnows. This could give them chance to get into form, without caring too much about the opposition batsmen. If they fail, they could be replaced by Robin Uthappa and Sreesanth for the next 2 matches. If not, that will be a blessing for the team management as the 2 would get back to form. In the worst case, Pathan can be played as a batting allrounder, who can bowl a few overs of pace (like Sourav Ganguly). Anil Kumble could be preferred in place of Harbhajan Singh, just for the fact that Harbhajan had played the previous series in WI without much success. The eleven for the first match would be - Viru Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel.
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