With IPL-2 now over, we can now turn our attention to The ICC World T20 Championship. It starts on 5 June in England with a match at Lords’ between England and The Netherlands.
Even though Shoaib Akhtar is out with warts in his unmentionables, Wasim Akram reckons that Pakistan will start off the tournament as his favourites. Sachin Tendulkar initially refused to rate title holders India but has cautioned her players (especially Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir) to rest prior to the tournament. More recently, he has indicated that India, the title holders, will start as favorites and has termed India as the “most balanced side in the world.” Dilip Vengsarkar, former Team India Chief Selector, echoed Tendulkar’s sentiment and warned Team India of fatigue, to which, M. S. Dhoni, the captain, simply said, “Fatigue is part of Indian cricket.” In other words, for those players who complain of fatigue, there is an option: shape up or ship out!
The fact, however, is that Zaheer Khan is still not 100% fit. He did not play the last half of IPL-2 tournament for his Mumbai Indians. His shoulder is still not fully recovered from a clumsy tumble/fall in a Mumbai Indians IPL game.
I do think that Australia will be the favourites with South African and India being close seconds.
In my view, if her players fight off fatigue, India stands a good chance. Having just come off a huge IPL-2, the Indian team would be match-hardened and ready.
But as Mickey Arthur, the South African coach says, “what would matter in the Twenty20 tournament is the speed at which the teams adapt to conditions in England next month.
India will play two warm-up games — against New Zealand on June 1 and Pakistan on June 3. India then take on South Africa in her opening match of the campaign. Not much time to get things right. But the problem, in my view, is one of figuring out which option works best. You just can’t afford to blink in the T20 World Championships. You’ve got to hit the ground running.
India have a good/strong team that is capable of winning the ICCWT20C.
For the practice matches, I’d go with the following team and take it from there.
Virender Sehwag (V-Capt)
MS Dhoni (Capt)
Yusuf Pathan / Ravindra Jadeja
Harbhajan Singh / Pragyan Ojha
Praveen Kumar / Zaheer Khan
RP Singh / Ishant Sharma
The only question mark in my mind is Ishant Sharma and the necessity for a second spinner in Pragyan Ojha. I’d have preferred Abhishek Nayar instead of Pragyan Ojha in the team. Having said that, I would not deny Ojha after his excellent performances with the ball for Deccan Chargers.
The team looks excellent on paper. There is strength, balance and the presence of a few “game-breakers” (in Mickey Arthur’s words).
I am looking forward to a terrific ICCWT20 Championship.