People possess a natural tendency to make a hue and cry about changes that are new to them. The same happened with Twenty20 cricket when it appeared in the scene breaking down the traditional form of the game. It was opposed, criticized and viewed as a threat to the real nature of the game by a large quantum of people as well as the pundits of cricket. Now, it seems those days are gone. The cricket experts have lowered their voices and the fans are relishing the format. Different cricketing nations are coming out with their own T20 leagues. The ICC is also making ample attempts to keep the format alive. Different nations are concurring on including one or two T20 matches in the series they take part in. The format is evolving and a considerable number of T20 matches are being played out.
The shorter version of the game demands staying fit and remaining vigilant at every moment. The margin for committing errors is also relatively less because players don’t get time to recover from those mistakes in this format of the game.
Indian players have played quite a lot of Twenty20 matches in IPL, but as a unit, after a long time, they played a Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka. Playing a match in Sri Lanka was good for the team as the next world T20 championship will be played on Sri Lankan soil between September 18 and October 7. However, India scored its lowest T20 total against Sri Lanka but managed to register a convincing 39 run win over them this time around. The win was the sole outcome of team effort. Decent performances by Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan and Ashok Dinda ensured that the team concluded the tour with a win.
The solitary Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka was also the last chance for the selectors to judge players since they have to announce the final squad for World T20 soon, the deadline being 18th August.
Taking a cue from this match, it can be established that there are some grave hiccups in India’s preparation for the world T20 tournament. Looking at the bowling department, no one seems in a position to lead and win matches for the team, raising question marks on the Indian challenge for the World T20 Cup. Irfan Pathan has been good with the ball throughout the series. This is a positive sign as he will be a key player for India in the T20 World Cup. He will also come handy with the bat, and India seriously need a good all-rounder to present a concrete challenge at the T20 World Championship.
Although the bowling department appears fragile, the batting department will have the obligation to put enough runs on the board so that India can win matches despite the poor performances of the bowlers. However, there is no definite news that Yuvraj Singh will be available for the series. Virender Sehwag also missed the T20 match against Sri Lanka because of injury. However, it is not confirmed how severe his injury is, but if he misses the World Twenty20, it will deliver a severe blow to India’s winning prospects. Rohit Sharma was given another chance against Sri Lanka with the expectation that he would end his poor show with the bat but he didn’t get the chance to bat. His miserable form will be a big concern for the skipper M.S. Dhoni. In these circumstances, the responsibility to lead the batting falls upon the in-form batsmen Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli. In the lower order, Raina and Dhoni will have to take charge to end the team’s innings’ on a high note.
The last chance for the Indian team to get used to the shorter version of the game will be against New Zealand — the two Twenty20 matches scheduled against New Zealand just before the start of the world T20 championship. The players will have the advantage of utilizing this series as an excellent opportunity to sharpen their preparations. The series will also assist in mixing and matching and determining the right combination for the world championship.
India had won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, but after that we haven’t tasted success in the same vein in T20′s. This time, the team seems to be in a reasonably good position to win the championship again. And for that, India will have to play as a team and manage to overcome the existing glitches in their bowling department.