World Twenty20 2012

India bank on 'home' conditions in Sri Lanka

Sidharth Monga

September 16, 2012

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

Gautam Gambhir's troubles against the short ball continued, West Indies v India, World T20, Group F, Bridgetown, May 9, 2010
Can they bounce back? After being bounced out from the two previous editions, India will hope for a better showing in familiar conditions this time © AFP
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Series/Tournaments: ICC World Twenty20
Teams: India

Overview

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.

Weakness

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

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Posted by zorrotsongo on (September 19, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

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

Posted by zorrotsongo 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.

Posted by Akshaythekaxk on (September 19, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

in 2010 we wow against SA

Posted by slackers11 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.

Posted by chapathishot 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

Posted by Gladkick on (September 19, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

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

Posted by krahuls 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 !!!

Posted by   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

Posted by sam_screaming 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)

Posted by   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

Posted by   on (September 19, 2012, 7:15 GMT)

@ Cpt.Meanster, haha india been unlucky in last two t20 wc's? loosing 6 out of 6 in super 8's unlucky? lmao , sl lost only one super 8 match in last two wc's n not to forget we thrashed india out of last t20 wc too, and ipl is better than slpl? based on what? money, but money cant win u international matches, anyways let india make semi final and lets talk

Posted by   on (September 19, 2012, 7:10 GMT)

Guys calm down,im talking based on rankings, if sl are minnows, india are 5th level associates, been ranked way below sl 7th or something lmao

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (September 19, 2012, 1:19 GMT)

@Mayan Priyadarshana: You buddy have simply commented without common sense. If India are minnows in T20s then that puts some of the other teams dangerously close to them don't you think ? If you ask me, T20 is more about talent and luck. India have IMMENSE talent but have been unlucky the previous 2 editions. I think the same can be said about many other teams. So you see, if you want to simply hate on the Indian team, then too bad you are not doing a good job at it. Speaking of the IPL, it's still the best T20 league in domestic competitions. I wish the SLPL well but I don't think it can be compared to a pioneer like the IPL. Peace.

Posted by Mahesh_80 on (September 18, 2012, 21:26 GMT)

Something tells me that India will pull off this time. The form shown by Kohli (as usual in great form) and Rohit is promising. Especially Rohit would have got immense confidence from the last inngs against Pak. I agree bowling is the week part but remember we not playing Test match here to take 20 wickets to win a game. All we need is to chip in with wickets here and there and contain during crucial overs which Ashwin (contain/wickets), yuvi (contain/wickets) and Pathan (wickets) has ability to do that and they shown that earlier and in the recent past too. Zak and Balaji/Dinda need to only support these bowlers which I expect them to do (if not consistently). But this game is purely a batsman's game and need batting match winners to win the tournament. The game can change thru batting in a matter of 2-3 overs doesnt matter who is hitting the six. I have seen matching going so close most of the time but if you really see the stats, the team chasing always had enough wickets to chace.

Posted by just_chill_chill on (September 18, 2012, 20:49 GMT)

@ Mayan Priyadarshana : If India are minnows, then SL will not even qualify for international cricket. The humiliation SL has received at the hands of India is enough . And you are talking about IPL? Your SLPL is just a comical joke the whole world is laughing at.

Posted by NLS1 on (September 18, 2012, 20:41 GMT)

India's club level bowling attack was taken to cleaners by Akmal in the warm up game. I suspect similar hiding from a few more teams before India returns home from "home away from home".

Posted by   on (September 18, 2012, 18:21 GMT)

lets face it , india are minnows in t20, they are good as ipl, and ipl is a domestic league, not international

Posted by avsln on (September 18, 2012, 17:51 GMT)

CricketMaan wonderful satirical comment.

Posted by Nampally on (September 18, 2012, 17:34 GMT)

Dhoni keeps talking about use of 4 regular bowlers plus the 5th as part timers. But if one looks at the regular bowlers - ZAK, Balaji, Irfan, Ashwin - only ZAK & Ashwin have been regulars for India. Irfan has only been commissioned during the past 2 series & Balaji is a Seam bowler with no control on his length, direction or consistency @ 120 KPH! ZAK is getting old & is not the same as of past. Ashwin is the only bowler on the rise. India has a whole list of specialist T-20 bowlers such as Rahul Sharma & Murali Kartik in spin, Munaf, Praveen & Nehra in seam. How can a team boast of any bowling when the best available T-20 bowlers are ignored. Every other Major team (SA, England, SL & the Aussies) has genuinely good bowlers & strong batting. Indian Selectors must understand T-20 is a game of equal effort in batting, bowling & fielding.Batting alone is wrong approach! Only bowlers with proven record in T-20 can be called "Regular".India is in the World cup with only 2 "Regular" bowlers!

Posted by   on (September 18, 2012, 16:24 GMT)

India is good to go. Good luck to Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh and the rest of the team.Best wishes.

Posted by Munafis810 on (September 18, 2012, 15:59 GMT)

Despite Sehwag,UV,Gambhir not firing not to mention Dhoni and Raina not getting a bat, India raked up 185 against the so called best bowling lineup in the world. Thats a positive to take. Bowling has always been weak but fortunately for India ,bowlers deliver when it matters.Truth is have gone to the pinnacle of all three formats in the last five years, with the same bowlers.

Posted by CricketMaan on (September 18, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

Its imp for likes of Dhoni, Ashwin, Raina to take rest ahead of Champions League, so i hope they get back home as soon as possible and rest thier bodies, for i dont want to see any excuses from Dhoni for not winning CL T20..mind it!!!! In comming years its CLT20 that will prevail over WT20..so do the right thing.

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Tournament Results
Sri Lanka v West Indies at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 7, 2012
West Indies won by 36 runs
Australia v West Indies at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 5, 2012
West Indies won by 74 runs
Sri Lanka v Pakistan at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 4, 2012
Sri Lanka won by 16 runs
India v South Africa at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 2, 2012
India won by 1 run
Australia v Pakistan at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 2, 2012
Pakistan won by 32 runs
More results »
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