Batting is our strength, says Karthik
Dinesh Karthik, India's reserve wicket-keeper at the World Twenty20, believes the team's powerful batting and flexibility provided by the presence of allrounders will be a major asset in the Caribbean.
India will be missing the services of the injured opener Virender Sehwag but still have some of the finest limited-overs batsmen in their line-up, including Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni. Their allrounders include Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja, and the likes of Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma can chip in with a few overs of part-time spin.
"Our batting looks very strong, and if the wickets suit the spinners, definitely we have some quality spinners in the side," Karthik told Cricinfo. "The good part of the Indian team is that they have a lot of bowling allrounders and batting allrounders, which gives us a lot of options."
India had entered the previous World Twenty20 early as one of the favourites, before crashing out early, without wins against any of the top teams. That tournament started less than two weeks after the IPL and the coach Gary Kirsten had said fatigue was one of India's biggest challenges in England.
This time the gap between a gruelling IPL and the World Twenty20 is a mere five days, but Karthik didn't think the short span between events to be a hindrance. "There is so much cricket now, everybody wants to play the IPL, and everybody wants to play the World Twenty20 and represent the country," he said. "I've never looked at it as burden, I've looked at it as opportunities to do well."
He suggested that the plethora of Twenty20 matches in the IPL would make India better prepared for the World Twenty20. "We have played so much cricket in the IPL, that we have seen pretty much every situation in T20s, so we are well equipped to put on a good show."
After a match-winning innings against Rajasthan Royals mid-way through the IPL, his personal form tapered off, but he wasn't unduly concerned by the lack of runs for Delhi Daredevils. "It's bound to happen in Twenty20, you might feel you are playing well and suddenly miss out on two or three games and you'll feel like I have lost form suddenly," he said. "It's about how you feel and I'm feeling good about batting, so that's a plus for me."
Australia and South Africa may be the punters' favourites, but Karthik picked defending champions Pakistan and hosts West Indies as teams to watch. "I think Pakistan have been one team that has played consistently in the World Cups, reaching two finals, winning one of them," he said. "West Indies also, they are playing at home and if there's one format that really suits them, it's Twenty20 because they have players with flair and calibre."
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo