India set for 2007 Encore?
No it isn’t 2007. History seldom doesn’t repeat itself! Heading into the second t20 World Cup in India, there are a number of favourites. However, favourites do not always determine the winners. The Indian team has had its share of heroics in the last series they played with Australia. That though seemed more like a sign of repeated good luck more than talent if we were to consider the result for the first match India played against Sri Lanka in the ongoing Paytm T20 series.
To recapitulate the same, Yuvraj didn’t seem like much of the hero any longer, the regulars failed to find their touch and Dhoni’s all rounder find in Hardik Pandya raises a very important question! Is he an all rounder at all? Every time India needed the man to bat, he made sure he was the fastest to walk in and out of the middle.
Between the 2007 and current squad selected for the championship, only a handful seem to have retained their position, many have made their way into the team as most have been unheard of ever since the first tournament had come to a close. To recapitulate, the hero of the final game in 2007 against Pakistan, Joginder Sharma is not only absent from the team but looks to have disappeared from the cricketing world in totality. Well that, is harsh on Dhoni’s end considering that Joginder not only became an overnight star but made his captain Dhoni a star too.
That, considering the momentary rubbishing that people, including the commentators and experts had done when the captain gambled the crucial last over handing the ball to not only an inexperienced but expensive Joginder Sharma. That world cup also witnessed the heroic Robin Uthappa who ran India to victory on a couple of occasions under pressure. Robin though after the tournament must surely have a number of political tales to narrate. Some might justify the true meaning of the phrase, ‘Game of thrones’. The team this time though more stable in form and practice look strong only as long as their batting. The bowling looks more confused than Mr. Bean himself. Consistent batting performances on the top three have resulted in most secure run chases.
However, Dhoni in most recent times has run out of luck eventually ending up chasing in a losing cause. Shikhar Dhawan coming in form has been the biggest boon that the Indian side has been hoping for in a very long time. Rohit continues with his sublime form and Virat was never out of form. If we were to dig deeper into the batting order, Raina has always been a stalwart with the current format. It is hence that his presence in the team adds to the batting ability in the team.
Then comes the concern. Rahane is more an opener or best suited at no. 3. His fluctuating batting positions have not had a very good impact on his scores lately. Yuvraj who the world seems to be talk about is far away from form. The only thing the experts now have to wait for is an Arnab Goswami debate questioning Yuvraj. The motion being, Is Yuvraj still the prince in the game or is he the pauper occupying the princely throne?
Ravindra Jadeja’s obsession as an all rounder too needs a reality check. As consistent as Jadeja has been on the field and with the ball, the inconsistency with the bat does take away the all rounder credit from him. He’s become more like Irfan Pathan, the bowler who forgot how to bowl when he began batting, just the other way round.
The bowling though needs no introduction. We probably have the most average bowling attack in comparison to most other teams that play. Newcomer, Jasprit Bumrah is still discovering his place in the game.
The odd bowling action does bring him into the limelight but it is only the bowling which will eventually speak for him. Though still extremely initial days in the game, Bumrah has shown promise and agility leading to his selection in the team. However, he is still to prove his mettle as a big match player. As for the newly included Mohammad Shami, the man who was considered the spearhead of sorts during the more conventional world cup has found himself mostly on the bench or far away from cricket on account of frequent injuries more frequent than the ridiculous movie reviews Kamaal Rashid Khan comes up with on a weekly basis. It is hence again very difficult to predict his performance in the T20 world cup as it is only human for any player to take his time to come back into the form he had left off at after a long gap of repeated injuries.
That brings us to the more famous Ashish Nehra who is still 36 years old and seems to still have his pace with the bowling. Nehra along with Ishant are probably the only two individuals in the world who have more runs in their bank than some of the finest batsmen. Only that they weren't the one’s scoring but getting scored off. Though Nehra does have the knack to take crucial wickets at times of crisis, he does get hit for plenty which nullifies the who deal.
India will miss a primary wicket taking reverse swinging bowler that they once had in the name of Zaheer Khan. It has been quite some time that Zaheer hasn’t featured in the playing eleven but there still seems to be lots of room for Zak to make a comeback.
Being more real, the concerns regarding bowling do take away quite a lot of India’s chances of winning the world Cup. This primarily because the batsmen not only in India but around the world are more than capable of scoring whatever target comes their way.
It is hence the bowlers and their discipline with the craft that will remain the deciding factor as far as India’s chances are concerned.
However, the Indian fans are more like Mamata Banerjee. They will forever remain optimistic of India’s chances; batting or bowling hoping that India does make it 2 in 2.