Zee Media Bureau/Jayanta Oinam
New Delhi: After the Asia Cup debacle, Team India will once again be pitted against the best teams in the world – this time, in the shortest and hottest format of the game. It`s a different matter that under Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India won the inaugural tournament in 2007, but this time it will be a test, more sterner than the recent continental competition. How long can a team continue to bask in the past glories?
In the recent Asia Cup, despite starting as the favourites, India failed to qualify for the final in the five-team tournament, which also had outfits from Bangladesh and Afghanistan. India did play some breathtaking cricket under their temporary skipper Virat Kohli, but defeats to other contenders Sri Lanka and Pakistan proved detrimental. The poor showing in the tournament was in continuation of yet another overseas series flop in New Zealand.
And the transition between the formats – from 50-overs to 20-overs, will not be an easy one for India, especially with an under-prepared and unsettled squad. The failure in the recent ODIs were due to a collective failure borne out of an unsettled unit. In such a backdrop, competing in the high-voltage tournament with hardly any preparation may well limit India`s chances of winning the trophy. Despite boasting of super-talented players in their ranks, India have failed to repeat their cup winning performance of 2007.
If the recent ODI disasters were attributed to the lack of cohesion, yet another failure in the upcoming World Twenty will be blamed on preparation, or the lack of it. Like in other formats of the game, the 20-over matches also need warm-up and preparations. The fast-pace T20 matches may seem far-off from the cricketing aspects of techniques and application, but such is the beauty of this game that flukes hardly happened. Or, simply put – the World Cup cannot be won by any team without preparation.
India played their last T20 match on October 10 last year. India won the match against the visiting Australian team in Rajkot. Ever since, it has been a big lull for Team India. And for that mater of fact, too big a gap for any team. In this period, from November 2013 to the first week of March, all the other contenders have played enough T20 games, ironing out issues, trying new combinations and in the process knowing whom to play where and when. But for Team India, there is no such preparedness. The only thing India have done is to announce the team for the tournament, which will start on March 16.
Assembling super talented cricketers and sending them without trying out will not win tournaments. In the Indian context, it may be argued that all the players in the World Twenty squad have had enough T20 exposure, thanks to the Indian Premier League, playing for different franchises. But it can also be noted that cricket is still a team sport, and many great players have failed to click together when put together.
So, it is worth asking – Will an under-prepared Team India deliver as a winning unit?