Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

India Head Into World T20 as Favourites

The emergence of Jasprit Bumrah and Handik Pandya means that India have the strongest World T20 side they have fielded in years.

Heading into the World T20, if there’s one team you could say are clear favourites to win the competition, it is India.

Going into the big event, India’s record in T20I’s in 2016 reads as – Games played – 11, Wins – 10, Losses 1. This gives is a fair indication of how well prepared and well tuned India are, going into the tournament.

At the beginning of the year, there were several doubts over the T20 side, considering the fact that India had played the least number of T20I’s among any other Test playing nation since the 2014 World T20. However, a thumping 3-0 whitewash over Australia in their own backyard changed the scenario quite a bit. Following that, except for one blip in Pune against Sri Lanka, India have won all their games since, in both the bilateral T20 series vs. Sri Lanka and the Asia Cup without breaking much sweat.

Lot of India’s latest renaissance has got to do with the inclusion of three names, in particular – Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Ashish Nehra. While the youth and exuberance of Bumrah and Pandya have helped India immensely, Nehra’s ability to go about his business has made a significant difference to the side. The two fast bowlers, Bumrah and Nehra, have consistently picked up wickets at the top enabling Dhoni to bring on bring on the spinners later to apply the choke on the opposition batsmen. Jasprit Bumrah has been quite a find for Indian cricket. His awkward bowling action makes him difficult to pick and his ability to swing the ball, as well as, bowl the searing and accurate yorkers have made him a serious prospect and a vital cog in the team for this tournament. He has been very consistent and has performed exceedingly well, which some bowlers, who preceded him couldn’t do, on a consistent basis. These two have performed so well that it’s difficult to see how Mohammad Shami can slot in, if he’s fit and one can argue that he’s one of India’s best fast bowlers, at the moment. However, it’s unlikely that MS Dhoni will tinker the winning combination until one of these two suffer an injury.

Hardik Pandya has been some sort of a gem unearthed and a potential superstar. India’s long search for a fast bowling allrounder ever since the days of Kapil Dev has been fruitless, but this young kid seems to be the bet, in the long haul. His knack of picking crucial wickets in the middle overs with quite a few variations in his hat makes him a handful with the ball and his sheer fearlessness and skill to hit the ball long and hard makes him the perfect fit for this team, atleast in the limited overs format. He could even go on to become a regular in Test cricket if he keeps developing his game.
The spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, have executed their roles perfectly so far and their contribution will be significant as India aim to go all the way in the tournament. Part-timers like Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh have also done a decent holding job whenever called upon, by MS Dhoni. All in all, India’s bowling lineup looks quite settled with enough back up with the likes of Mohammad Shami and Harbhajan Singh in the squad.

India’s top order seems to be in really good touch at the moment with Virat Kohli, in particular, batting at a different level, altogether. Rohit Sharma has been a consistent performer and the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh, too, have got quite a few good scores under their belt. Dhoni’s incredible finishing skills, which seemed to desert him for a while, have returned and the confident Hardik Pandya makes the Indian batting lineup look well rounded and all set for the big challenge ahead.

Team mentor Ravi Shastri seems quite confident heading into the tournament. He said, “We have got into a good habit of winning games. You might get the odd hiccup on the way. But it’s important to maintain a level of consistency and treat every game as an important game. “Virat is in outstanding form, and so is Rohit, MS has done well lower down the order, Yuvraj has struck form, Shikhar has had his moments. If you look at history, the world No.1 sides would always have experience and youth. The youngsters bring energy to the table and keep the seniors on their toes while they too want to emulate the seniors, so we stand at a good stead right now”.

Captain MS Dhoni too brimmed with confidence ahead of the WT20, “The team is fairly settled and all departments are doing well. We have prepared well and will carry the confidence from our three series wins. I think we are running in the sixth gear. I know technology has gone into eight gears. But how we are playing cricket and the stuff we are doing on the field is adequate for any level of game… we have to keep our intensity up and ensure we are focused from ball one. Everything is set; I don’t think there are further gears to operate upon. But we will be happy with how we’ve progressed.” Dhoni signed off by saying, “”If we execute our plans well, we definitely have our chance”.

As Dhoni said, if India do their roles perfectly and are able to handle the pressure of being the home team and favourites, there is a very good chance that they could be crowned World T20 champions for the second time, on April 3rd.

India’s Group Stage fixtures –
Tue Mar 15 – India v New Zealand, Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur
Sat Mar 19 – India v Pakistan, Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Wed Mar 23 – India v TBC (Bangladesh or Oman), M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore D/N
Sun Mar 27 – India v Australia, Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, Chandigarh


More Posts

Send Us A Message