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Saturday, May 1, 2010

India


As India are opening their world T/20 campaign today, I thought of looking at the Indian squad as well. India were the inaugural champions in the 07 edition of the world T/20, but were lacklustre in England last year. Dhoni again would captain the Indian side.

Key players

Dhoni- I like him as a captain as he seems to back his players and as expected, they deliver the goods for him. For instance, he gave the unheralded Joginder the ball in the 07 world cup final and it worked. In the recently concluded IPL, he backed Albe Morkel to bowl at Pollard, when most captains wouldn't have used him as he can be suspect under pressure, but it again worked. I still think he can tactically get better, but I liked the field that he set to Pollard in the IPL final as he bought the long off up in the ring and asked Morkel to bowl a touch wide and got the desired result too as Pollard got out by top edging it straight to the mid off fielder.

Of course, he is also a fine batsman. Many may think that he is just a slogger, but IMO he has a decent technique. He can rotate the strike and he is a real good finisher as he has the power to smash the bowlers in the end overs. It was evident in the crucial league game against the Kings team as he smashed Pathan all over the park to win the game for his team. For a player of his calibre, His strike rate in T/20 internationals is very low, but with time should improve. His keeping too has improved in recent times.

Yuvraj- Yuvraj is the X factor in the line up. I don't think I have to dwell much on his exploits in the T/20 world cup in 2007 as I think everyone knows about what he did to Broad, but his average of over 37 and a strike rate of over 160 is just a great record to have in T/20 internationals. His ability to play with a high back-lift and smash the bowlers through the line can demoralise any bowler. Yuvraj's part-time left arm spin and his fielding too would be crucial to India's chances in the tournament. Yes, he didn't had a good time in the IPL but make no mistake, he is a key member of the Indian side.

Harbie- Like him or hate him, still one can't get away from the fact that Harbie is a very good restrictive off spinner. If he isn't taking wickets, Harbie can choke the batsmen. Harbie would be India's main weapon in the bowling attack as the tracks would suit him. He can also be a dangerous lower order batsman.

Ghambir- Ghambir isn't a big hitter, but at top of the order, he was curial to India's success in the 07 world cup. Ghambir can anchor the innings really well.

Raina- He was in great form in the IPL and has the ability to hit the big shots, though I am waiting to see how he would play in the Caribbean as it won't be easy to hit on the up. Raina also has a weakness against the short ball.

I would also like to mention R.Sharma and Zaheer as Sharma was in great form in the IPL. The problem is, he has always been in great form in the IPL, but as soon as he plays internationals for India, he becomes invisible. Zaheer is fine test match bowler, though occasionally in the T/20 format can go for runs. His ability to take wickets upfront with swing and the ability to use the slightly old ball well should come in handy.

The strength of the Indian line up is obviously their batting as they don't just have stars, but also do have young players like Vijay. In the IPL, he played a couple of superb knocks. He doesn't have much footwork, but has good balance and that helps him to hit the big shots. S'wag is injured and won't play in the tournament, but for all his big hitting in test cricket, he hasn't been a huge success in the T/20 format. So, it may not be a huge blow for the team.

Indian management would be worried about their bowling attack, though Zaheer, Nehra and Harbie make up a decent bowling combination. India have also picked the two Kumars. Among the two, I still think Vinay can mix it up better and for a medium pacer, surprisingly has a decent bouncer, but Dhoni seems to have lot of faith in Praveen and likely would plump for him. I would have preferred to see the impressive Ojha ahead of Chawla.

India have a good batting line up, but their bowling attack may still stop them from winning a second title.

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