India face selection conundrum after Yuvi jolt
With Yuvraj Singh’s injury-forced ouster disturbing their settled line-up, India have been left with a selection dilemma to handle as they gear up to take on the flamboyant and spirited West Indies in what promises to be a battle of nerves in the World Twenty20 semifinal here on Thursday.
Yuvraj, who has not got big runs but was involved in crucial stands with top performer Virat Kohli during the group stage matches, has been ruled out owing to an ankle injury that he sustained in the must-win game against Australia.
Manish Pandey, not in the original 15, has been pencilled in to replace the all-rounder in the squad although Ajinkya Rahane is also present as a viable alternative. But it remains to be seen whether skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni chooses between the two or decides to go with rookie all-rounder Pawan Negi.
The no-holds barred battle between the 2007 champions India and the 2012 title-winners West Indies is expected to ultimately be decided by the ability of the players to handle the pressure in front of a full house at a venue where the hosts captured their second ODI World Cup crown almost five years ago. Both teams go into the clash after getting beaten once each in the Super 10 stage and as such the team that grabs its chances is expected to come out triumphant.
The head-to-head record between the two rivals in past World Twenty20s is 2-1 in favour of the West Indies.
However, India, with a strong team on paper, seem to have the edge although quite a few players have not lived up to the expectations.
But the crowd favourites would be wary of being upstaged by the Caribbeans, who have quite a few match-winners of their own.
Kohli has been the biggest galvanising factor in India’s progress this far. With his consistently excellent display in an otherwise misfiring top-order, he is the batsman that Windies will be wary of the most, apart from ever-reliable skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. India suffered a shock opening game defeat at Nagpur against New Zealand but then picked up pace to get the better of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Australia to be one victory away from entering their third summit clash in six editions.
Windies, powered by Gayle force, ensured their entry into the last four with creditable victories over England, South Africa and Sri Lanka before coming a cropper
against minnows Afghanistan in their previous game. The Caribbean charmers would be hoping to put the shock loss against Afghanistan behind them.