World Twenty20 2012 September 16, 2012

India bank on 'home' conditions in Sri Lanka



When India didn't take the format seriously at all, they won the inaugural World Twenty20. Ever since India have turned the format into the biggest business the game has ever seen, they have not won a single game in the second round of the subsequent events, progression to which often depends on beating an Associate or an Affiliate. That's six losses and no wins against serious opposition when the pressure is on. It's this record India will be fighting against once they have beaten Afghanistan in their group game.

The two disappointing showings came on the heels of the IPL. After they failed to defend their crown in 2009, their coach Gary Kirsten spoke of the IPL fatigue. In the lead-up to the next event, in 2010, they were the only side to not play a single warm-up game because the IPL finished five days before their first match. This time, though, the timing of the tournament means they have had enough time off, and enough time in Sri Lanka. Not that they need any acclimatising: the running joke is that the Indian players never throw away their local Sri Lankan sim cards because they keep playing there ever so often anyway.

India will bank on this familiarity with their home away from home, and their batting, like they did in the 50-over world event last year. It is a tournament without favourites if the identity of the winners of the three previous editions has taught us anything. If you were to wager still, you wouldn't like the look of India's bowling and some of their fielding, but then again would you want to bet against batsmen who play more international cricket at R Premadasa Stadium than they do at their respective home grounds? Another reason why India shouldn't be ruled out is that once the bowling and fielding somehow come together in Twenty20, you don't have to sustain it for too long. India should know: they have done it once before.

At any rate, the bouncer is not likely to be nearly as effective in Sri Lanka as it was in England and in the West Indies.

Key player

MS Dhoni: Twenty20 is the only format where the openers have it easier than the middle order. It's often those batting after No. 3 who win or lose the close games. India's talisman in the middle, Yuvraj Singh, is back from his fight with cancer, but India's reliance on him cannot be the same now. Someone else in the middle order, somebody who handles pressure well, will have to be the key. Not a bad time for the man with the reputation of being one of the best under pressure in ODIs to correct a statistical aberration: not a single fifty in T20 internationals.

Surprise package

Harbhajan Singh was out in the cold storage - and it's not a barb at the English weather - when he was called up for World T20 more than a year after he was dropped from international cricket. There have been questions about what he has done to earn the recall, but when in a scrap you want this man on your side.


Bowling and fielding. Harbhajan, a discard until now, is the highest-ranked Indian in the ICC T20 ratings, at No. 21. R Ashwin is the only Indian among the top 32 ODI bowlers. There is just no telling how many runs Indian bowlers can leak at the death of any limited-overs international. In a warm-up game, despite playing five specialist bowlers, they failed to defend 185 after having Pakistan down at 91 for 5.

It doesn't help that seven of the 15 fielders in the squad are past the age of 30 (five of them are certain starters), and this group doesn't include R Ashwin. If India make it past the Super Eights, either their bowlers and fielders will have shown a great improvement or their batsmen will have put in a superhuman effort to compensate.

World T20 history

They stunned the world with an inspirational showing in the first World Twenty20, but have since failed to make any impression in the Super Eights in the two subsequent tournaments.

Recent form

They have won two and lost three matches in 2012, including their latest. These numbers should hardly count for anything because there has been no continuity in the side at all. Irfan Pathan is the only quick to have played more than one of their last three matches. Their last four matches have featured four different opening combinations with the bat.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Raju on September 19, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    All the best India.... Go for ruthless against all the teams

  • Raju on September 19, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    @Mayank Priyadarshana: In T20 game everything can happen. Six in a trot means that a team always does the poor performance isn't it? History can be rewritten by many teams even if they lose in previous edition did not bother their spirit. Before act think twice. O.K.

  • Akshay on September 19, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    in 2010 we wow against SA

  • Its on September 19, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    SPL is an international tournament and IPL is a domestic tournament:P and this has to be the joke of the year. God bless.

  • Unni on September 19, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    @ Mayan Priyadarshana : Srilanka has nothing to show in the last editions of the world T20 ,India atleast have one winners title.And mind you loosers who win every thing and loose the final are not counted in records .Only the winners are remembered. 20 years from now when a question is asked who won 2011 cricket world cup ,the answer will be India and Srilanka will nowhere be mentioned

  • Ramasamy on September 19, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    All the best India!!! We will win!!!

  • Rahul on September 19, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    India will definitely be a tougher opposition in SL conditions.. With low bounce pitches, they will bat better than previous 2 tournaments. Bowling is a weak part but as it was shown in 2011 WC in home condition, if 3 bowlers clicks - they coould win the cup again !!! All the best India !!!

  • Dummy4 on September 19, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    We can take apart any bowling unit in the world. Pak, Aus, SL, SA doesn't matter who. With average bowling talent we can still manage to hold good ground with solid batting and decent fielding. We have won World cups in both formats and were No.1 in tests too, with the same average bowling. Doesn't matter what we are as a bowling or batting unit. As a whole we are better than most teams. Pak is a very good team, agreed ! But their good bowling cannot compensate for their decent batting more than what our batting does for our bowling. WE are better ! :D

  • Sameer on September 19, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    Whatever be the bowling.. India currently holds the two World cups and they are participating in the third. If they win this one, they will be the first team in the history to hold all 3 world cups simultaneously. And to win a match, you need to score 1 run more than your opposition and india have a batting line up to overhaul the targets. As far as minnow thing is concerned, If india is a minnow in T20 then this minnow is one time T20 WC winner. Major teams have not been able to achieve this feat except for Pakistan and England (their only ICC trophy till now in 150 year history of cricket)

  • Dummy4 on September 19, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    more.. India is the only team with 6 loses in 6 matches in last two t20 wc's, thats minnows stats

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