The T20 World Cup is upon us and it is time for me to blog regularly. As you all might have seen in several websites, this WC is more open than the others. The main reason is, there are no mysteries among the players as a lot of them are active around the world in different tournaments and know each other’s game well. As a result, each team now possesses a few game-breakers who can win the game single-handed on their day. Teams like West Indies, who struggle in the longer formats, are a genuine threat in T20 due to the presence of match-winners like Gayle, Pollard and Narine. Also the pitches in SL these days are not as spinner friendly as they used to be. So teams like England, Australia and South Africa – who have been known to struggle on sub-continental surfaces – have a good chance as well.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be able to watch these matches live on TV here in the U.S. though I am hoping I can watch live streaming somewhere, but I will still be following the matches closely and will be able to update the blog regularly. Lets see how India will fare in this tournament based on the team we have got.
India’s strength for a while now has been the batting and the weakness has been the bowling. It continues to be so for this tournament as well. But in Ashwin and Balaji, I see 2 good T20 bowlers who are capable of holding their own against any team and in any situation. Also Pathan has been bowling well since his comeback and now should have the confidence back as well because of some good recent figures. The weakness, surprisingly, is in the opening combination. Sehwag and Gambhir are in horrible form at the moment and it must now be telling on their confidence as well. Fortunately, we have Kohli at number 3 who is in the form of his life and that helps to offset the opening blues to an extent. India are in a relatively easy group with Afghanistan and England. As I write this, India have beaten Afghanistan in their opening match. If they bat to potential, they should beat England as well. Once they get to the knock-out stages, anything can happen, particularly in this format. Personally, the only expectation I have is that India reach the knock-outs, preferably by beating England as well. The familiarity that the Indian team has with conditions in Sri Lanka should help them in the knock-out matches to an extent. Lets see how far they can go.
A few things I will keep an eye out for regarding Indian performances are – Yuvraj’s return to form and fitness, Irfan’s performance with the ball, Rohit’s batting and the bowling at the death (overs 15 to 20). I am seeing that Zaheer is being hit all over the park in his last few outings in T20. Maybe it is time to give him a break and try Ashok Dinda. I like the fact that Dinda has pace and can swing the ball as well. But he is not very experienced and the extra pace, if not controlled with good line and length, can work against him as well.
Lets hear it from you guys. Are you watching the T20 World Cup with a lot of interest and expectations, or it is just another tournament/series for you ? I will continue to post updates on this blog during the tournament, so stay tuned.