As the world Twenty20 dawn on us, the expectations and hopes are soaring yet again. Just a few days to go before the twenty20 extravaganza unfolds in India, speculations have already started erupting on who will be crowned this year’s Twenty20 champion. The twenty20 format, as we all know, is more like a gamble so it is quite difficult to predict a winner. Nevertheless, with the way the Indian team has been performing in the shortest format of the game recently, hopes have been kindled in every Indian fan. Well, there are other teams like Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies who happen to be excellent in this format. But some amount of rationale dictates that team India is the frontrunner to reclaim the title they had won in its inaugural edition.
Yes, we just can’t afford to ignore that. The emergence of the Indian Premier League has subdued that advantage slightly. However, come the big tournaments like the world twenty20, and one is likely to see phenomenal backing of the home team. Such is the zealous and overwhelming support in India that the opposition is bound to feel the heat. Then we have the pitch factor. The pitches in India favor the batsmen and the spinners of the home team more than anyone else. There is no denying that the home advantage will be playing a crucial role for the Indian team in this competition.
Rock solid batting order: The Indian team has always been renowned for its formidable batting strength. However, the purple patch the Indian top order batsmen re going through right now is simply phenomenal.Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are in red hot form and have the ability to take any bowling attack to the cleaners. The top 3 have the ability to notch up big scores. Rohit and Virat are timing the ball as well as anybody. Shikhar Dhawan has finally found his mojo as was witnessed in the match-winning knock against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup final. Suresh Raina can contribute some valuable runs during the middle-overs. India has finally found a power-hitting all-rounder in the Gujarat boy Hardik Pandya. Veteran all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has shown glimpses of his old form. MS Dhoni is always there to infuse impetus towards the end of the innings with his six-hitting ability.
India and ICC events:
There is something very peculiar about team India and ICC events. Something just clicks magically in the team whenever they participate in ICC events of late. Their horrid form prior to the tournament suddenly evaporates, they gel together as a unit like long lost brothers and there is a spring in their steps akin to the way a gazelle has when it sees a lush green field of verdant grass. To put it simply, India flourishes the most come the ICC events. And this one, being played in India, is likely to add that extra zing in them; more so because of the excellent T20I form they have been exhibiting lately. Opponents, hence, need to be extremely vary. The Men in Blue are about to be on the prowl again.
His batting form is slowly but surely returning; the very few balls he faced in the Asia Cup and the way he bludgeoned massive sixes off of them was a testimony to that. Although his record as a T20 international player is extremely moderate, but Mahendra Singh Dhoni could likely be the factor that turns things around for India in this T20 World Cup; primarily because he knows how to perform and win in big-ticket events. One can say with considerable certainty that this is going to be the last big international championship – at least of the T20 kind – that Dhoni plays in. Having already bid adieu to the longer format, it won’t be long now, before Dhoni says goodbye to the shorter form as well. Hence, don’t be surprised as a fitter and leaner Dhoni comes out all guns blazing in the all important tournament.
As a captain too, he is at his best when playing in his own country or when he is at an ICC event. And lest one forget, we should know that Dhoni rose to fame after he won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007. Perhaps, he is destined to do an encore before he passes the baton completely to Virat Kohli.
At the time of writing, the Indian squad has just lifted the Asia Cup emphatically and seems to be on the right track for the World T20. Frankly, this is as good an Indian T20 squad as there has ever been. They have got all their bases covered and are firing on all cylinders like never before. India’s chances, hence, look extremely bright going into the championship. All that is required now is execution.