Monday 17 March 2014 

ICC World Twenty20 2014 Preview - India

MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja
MS Dhoni (left) and Ravindra Jadeja are two key players for India
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

In the last three editions of the ICC World T20, India have failed to make the semi-finals in England (2009), West Indies (2010) and Sri Lanka (2012).

This is extremely astonishing, after they won the inaugural edition in South Africa (2007) leading to the birth of the premier T20 competition in world cricket - the Indian Premier League.

There are a couple of reasons assigned to this. In 2009 and 2010, the Indian team took part in this competition after a jading IPL season. Then in 2012, the transition had just set itself in and that team - with misfiring players such as Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, and others - wasn’t especially booming in confidence.

In contrast, the present squad at least boasts of confidence in an individual capacity. Virat Kohli leads the batting and is the star of the future for Indian cricket. Shikhar Dhawan has re-acquired his explosive capacity as an opener, while Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni are class T20 acts.

Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja has made giant strides as an all-rounder on the international stage. Add to this the names of Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma, and the Indians look very strong on paper, especially since the conditions will be quite similar to what they experience in the IPL.

Bowling remains their inherent weakness though. In One-Day Internationals played over the last season, whether home or away, they have easily squandered runs.

In a slam-bang competition, the odds of them being hit even more increase manifold. If at all there is a positive angle to their bowling, it is in that Dhoni has a lot of bowling options to choose from – Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Mohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny and the part-time options in Raina/Yuvraj/Rohit/Kohli – and in this format it can sometimes be a game-changer.

India finish their group games on 30th March, while there will still be another round of matches from Group 2 to be played on 1st April. It puts them a little on the back-foot as this group comprising Australia, defending champions West Indies, Pakistan and in all probability hosts Bangladesh, is already quite tough.

It means that India not only have to beat two out of Australia/West Indies/Pakistan along with the qualifier from Group A, but also get their campaign to a winning start. That will be on 21st March against their arch-rivals, and it will be easier said than done.

Recent Form:

2012 – WLLW

20th December: Beat England by five wickets in Pune
22nd December: Lost to England by six wickets in Mumbai
25th December: Lost to Pakistan by five wickets in Bangalore
28th December: Beat Pakistan by 11 runs in Ahmedabad

2013 – W

10th October: Beat Australia by six wickets at Rajkot

Previous Tournament Performances:

2007 – Champions
2009 – Reached Super Eights, where they lost all three matches against England, West Indies and South Africa
2010 – Reached Super Eights, where they lost all three matches against Australia, Sri Lanka and West Indies
2012 – Reached Super Eights, where they won against Pakistan and South Africa, but lost to Australia, going out of the tournament on run-rate

Tournament Fixtures:

21st March 2014: versus Pakistan in Mirpur, Dhaka
23rd March 2014: versus West Indies in Mirpur, Dhaka
28th March 2014: versus A1 qualifier in Mirpur, Dhaka
30th March 2014: versus Australia in Mirpur, Dhaka

Squad

MS Dhoni (captain & wicket-keeper), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Stuart Binny, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Mohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Varun Aaron

© Cricket World 2014