India look to youngsters with only T20 lined-up



India look to youngsters with only T20 lined-upManchester: India will try to put the humiliating whitewash in the Test series behind them when they take on England in the one-off Twenty20 cricket match on Wednesday, hoping that their young batting brigade will be able to counter the seaming conditions.

After the Test series debacle, India began well on the path of redemption by scoring three consecutive victories in the warm-up games but they face an uphill battle against England, who are reigning Twenty20 world champions.

Both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have looked in good touch in the warm games in the last one week as they shouldered the burden of carrying India home in those games.

Importantly, they have not been part of the losing side yet after putting their feet in England and the confidence and positive attitude of the duo can turn it around for India.

Left-handed Parthiv Patel also got into the groove by top scoring in India`s win against Leicestershire yesterday.

However, India have run short of batsmen and they are left with no option but to ask its two most senior batsmen, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, to pad up for the game.

The present squad in all has eight batsmen but opener Gautam Gambhir is as good as ruled out and Ajinkya Rahane is too wet behind the ears to be given the India cap.

It brings both Tendulkar and Dravid into equation -two giant of batsmen in modern era who, ironically, have only one Twenty20 international between them.

Tendulkar played India`s inaugural Twenty20 international match in Johannesburg against South Africa on the 2006 tour but since then has often asserted he doesn`t want to be part of India`s Twenty20 group of players.

The highest and the second highest run-scorers in the history of Test cricket, however, would be required to respond to the call of the team.

It`s an irony that a team, which only four years ago had won the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa on the vim of young talent, is now knocking at the door of two 38-year-old veterans to bail them out.

Tendulkar and Dravid, in a way, wouldn’t mind turning up for India. Tendulkar has only shown glimpses of his batsmanship on the present tour.

Dravid needs to adapt his batting to the shorter formats of the game of which he hasn`t been a part, well almost, for over three years.

Being champions, they would also like to exact revenge against an England side which whitewashed them 4-0 in the preceding Test series and disrobed them from the honours of world`s number one Test side.

Even though two of their tormentors from the Test series, Ian Bell and Alastair Cook, are not part of England’s Twenty20 make-up, yet the hosts have enough verve and dash to carry the momentum forward.

Their bowling hardly looks affected with the man-of-series from Tests, Stuart Broad, at the helm.

Tim Bresnan, Steve Finn, Graeme Swann and one-day specialist Jade Dernbach is a formidable bowling bunch. Most of these names also have huge credentials as a lower-order batsmen which should give the top order the license to go after a lightweight Indian bowling.

As for England`s top six batsmen, opener Craig Kieswetter, Eoin Morgan and Kevin Pietersen are relatively
well-known. The other three, Jos Butler, Ben Stkes and Alex Hales, are said to be the future of English cricket in shorter formats of the game.

Butler featured for Somerset in the tour opener against the Indians last month but didn`t get to bat at all. Most of the batting practice was usurped by England captain Andrew Strauss. The 20-year-old cricketer is a free-stroking batsman and adds up value as a competent wicketkeeper.

Stokes got his baptism in international cricket only last week when he turned up for England against Ireland in a one-day international match. It wasn`t a profitable outing as only three runs accrued and he didn`t get an opportunity to showcase his fast-bowling ability.

A prodigious talent, the left-hander would be remembered by the Indians as one who hit a century against them in the Under-19 World Cup two years ago.

Hales, in all probability, will open the innings in his international debut match. The 6?5? tall opener is said to be a natural timer of the ball.

Thus, as can be seen, England has players who are more than one dimensional. Most of them can bat and bowl with equal felicity but the same can`t be said of the Indians.

India`s batting woes only appear accentuated by a mere glance at their bowling resources. Praveen Kumar will be the spearhead of the attack and in all likelihood RP Singh would share the new ball with him.

Munaf Patel`s past record might tilt the scales in his favour against Vinay Kumar who was impressive in the Twenty20 practice match against Leicestershire on Monday. Amit Mishra should have a headstart over Ravichandran Ashwin in the spin department.

Presently the honours roll put it one-win each from two Twenty20 internationals between the two teams yet a great chasm separates them.

The Teams (from):

England: Stuart Broad (capt), Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Craig Kieswetter (wk), Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Kevin Pietersen, Ben Stokes, Graeme Swann.

India: Sachin Tendulkar, Parthiv Patel, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Praveen Kumar, RP Singh, Munaf Patel, Vinay Kumar, Amit Mishra and R. Ashwin.

The match will start at 10.30 p.m (IST).

PTI