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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

India is the team to beat at the Twenty20 World Cup

It would not take a rocket scientist to predict that the Indian team is the favorite to win the T20 World Cup, especially as it comes so soon after the IPL2. Sachin Tendulkar has favored his team and that is not a surprise. Other teams are also wary of the defending champions. Why are they so dangerous? Is it more hype than substance? Or are they real contenders to the throne again? Let us go through the team and find out.

  • The captain MS Dhoni, is the SuperMan of the team. He keeps wickets, steadies the batting order and captains the team without showing a trace of any tension. How he performs under the pressure of the 'defending champs' tag will be interesting to watch. He is very important in the batting order full of stroke-players.
  • Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are the most dangerous opening batsmen in any format of the game at present. They have taken the throne vacated by Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist. They had a modest IPL2 and that should give them enough thrust to regain their form. Sehwag used to bowl in the shorter versions but after the mauling he received from Gilchrist in the IPL, he might prefer not to roll his arm over in the field.
  • Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh are players who can turn the game by their dare-devilry. They can adjust to the tempo of the game and hit big shots when required. Both are great fielders and have proved their (bowling) worth in the IPL2.
  • The Pathan brothers (Yusuf and Irfan) are allrounders who give the team the depth in bowling and batting. It is more likely that both will play in the initial set of matches. They are dangerous in the slog overs, capable of chasing down any totals.
  • Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha are the spin twins, who might tilt the Cup towards the Indian team this time again. The pitches seem to be helping the slower bowlers (on evidence of what was visible during the first Indian Warm-up match). The way Ojha lures the batsmen out of their crease is stuff of the likes of Bishen Singh Bedi. Spinners do have a role in T20!!!
  • Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma will be the first choice bowlers for MS. Both have proved themselves time and again. Just like the batting combination, these two will try their best to prove that the IPL2 loss of form was just a mirage.

The firepower that is available to MS Dhoni outside these eleven players is just too good to be true. Rohit Sharma was adjudged the best Under-23 player in IPL2 - obviously he will play but how is the question that will haunt MS. Praveen Kumar and RP Singh will prove to be more than a handful in English conditions. Again, the selection problem will be the major headache for the thinktank.

How the team gets their selection correct for the conditions given will be crucial to their chances. Otherwise, complacency is the only obstacle in this team's path of defending the World Cup title.
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