ICC Twenty20 World Cup: How strong is India's bid for a second title?
The Indian team would leave for Sri Lanka to compete in the T20 World Cup in a matter of few days. The selectors once again announced a team that has some of the best names but also a few which have raised many eyebrows.
Gautam Gambhir, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh are the seven players who were a part of the Indian squad that won the maiden T20 World Cup organised in Johannesburg in 2007.
The announcement would have come as a huge relief for two players-Harbhajan Singh and Rohit Sharma. Bhajji went into hibernation after his struggle in the Indian Premier League where he failed both as the Mumbai Indians' skipper and as a spin bowler. The ‘Turbanator’ had earlier failed to impress in the away series in England and thus the selectors had no other choice but to drop him.
Rohit Sharma, despite his failures, has once again retained his place which could have been given to the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu. Sharma’s body language these days is enough to suggest the kind of form he is in. The selectors could have easily replaced him with Rahane, who was the highlight of IPL 2012.
The dangerous Yusuf Pathan has understandably missed this time, his inconsistency being a key factor.
Manoj Tiwary has capitalised the few opportunities which have come his way and has been rewarded for his patience as well as consistency.
While the selectors should be hailed for their decision to prioritise Tiwary over Yusuf, one might wonder if they have missed a trick by not including Ambati Rayudu. The right-hander who has been consistent for the Mumbai Indians in IPL was in contention for a place in the shorter format of the game.
But the biggest shocker has come with the selection of Piyush Chawla. One can understand that the selectors wanted a leg-spinner to add variety, but for that purpose Pragyan Ojha would have been a better choice.
Chawla might be one of the leading wicket-takers in the Indian Premier League yet one cannot ignore the fact that he has leaked plenty of runs and lacks variety to meet the international standards.
It is yet to be seen whether Harbhajan Singh can prove his worth at the big stage with a formidable comeback. A lot has been said about him over the last six months as he seems to have lost his spark of late. Needless to say, the T20 World Cup would be a do or die situation for him.
The fans are overwhelmed with the comeback of Yuvraj Singh. The Man of the tournament of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 has played the role of an all-rounder in crucial tournaments and he would be desperate to be among the runs on the Lankan soil.
All said and done, there is one man who would be a huge threat for the opponents and can single-handedly make a huge difference to India’s chances.
With his incredible form, Virat Kohli is undoubtedly the player to watch out for. Agreed that his form in the IPL was a bit dodgy this year, but he transforms into a run-machine as soon as he dons the blue jersey. Of all the teams, the Sri Lankans might be the right bunch of guys to answer any doubts regarding India’s sensational right-hander as they have been at the receiving end of his onslaught on quite a number of occasions.
The Indian selectors have played a gamble by including a few players out of the blue. These could be the players who can make it or break it at the big stage for the 2012 T20 world champion.
T20 squad: MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, R Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, L Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Ashok Dinda.