After being stunned by the pyrotechnics in the match between West Indies and South Africa last night, I thought to myself whether India would be able to put on a similar show; a show that included power, intensity, commitment, strength, brutality, sharpness, alacrity and acumen in equal measure!
I really doubt it! I won’t be surprised by a bad showing from India in this tournament. May as well be prepared for it!
Apart from the fact that India is inexperienced at this form of the game, the team has as many as 4 players on the comeback-trail (Virender Sehwag, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh and Joginder Sharma). Moreover, the team has, in my view, at least 2 passengers who should not get even a single game (Ajit Agarkar and Gautam Gambhir). But more than these factors, I feel that India’s specialist Twenty20 players are warming the bench back at home.
The above factors make me want to set my expectations realistically: an early exit and some much-needed R&R bfore the Australian ODI series!
The fielding is, however, set to improve with the absence of the likes of Sourav Ganguly, Romesh Powar, Munaf Patel, et al. But notwithstanding with the persence of Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik, Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma, this team is going to provide several Sydney-Harbour-Bridge moments as players dive over balls that race under them to the boundary. The dry cleaner may get an easy collect as clothes may not be too soiled by sliding stops.
But it may be a fun journey — albeit a short one! So may as well enjoy it while it lasts!
I’d suggest the following team — in batting order — for the match against Scotland on Thursday 13th Sept (9.30pm IST):
Rohit Sharma / Gautam Gambhir
Irfan Pathan / Ajit Agarkar
Joginder Sharma / Yusuf Pathan
Harbhajan Singh / Piyush Chawla
Rudra Pratap Singh
This team would give the team upto 7 bowling options, with Sreesanth, R. P. Singh, Joginder Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Irfan Pathan does. Even if India lose this series badly, the re-discovery of Irfan Pathan will have made the trip a worthwhile one! India needs this former poster-boy back in its midst.