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The Coming T-20 World Cup

by Deepanshu Srivastava

This October will start the prestigious T 20 I World Cup in Australia. Each participating country prepares hard to make its claim for the cup. Team India is no different. The only occasion on which team India has won the cup was in 2007 under the leadership of MS Dhoni. BCCI has also planned to put up a winning show by scheduling important series against mighty England and West Indies to expose a young brigade of team India members under overseas conditions. These tours will be an audition of team India players for the World Cup.In the process, team India recently had a 5 match T 20 I home – series against South Africa, played at New Delhi, Cuttack, Vishakhapatnam, Rajkot, and Bengaluru. India managed to level the series after being 0 – 2 down. The fifth clash between the two became the decider as India dropped the series by winning the third and fourth matches. The much-awaited final scheduled at Bengaluru on June 19th was to be called off after rains played the spoilsport. Perhaps BCCI selected Bengaluru without doing any homework as it is a well-known fact that the monsoon remains active over the coastal areas during the third week of June.India played the series under the leadership of its accidental captain Rishabh Pant following the injury of KL Rahul who was named as the captain in absence of national captain Rohit (Hitman) Sharma. Other key players who absented themselves were Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Shami, R. Ashwin, and R. Jadeja. On the other hand, Proteas had all the crucial players in the squad. The first game out of the five played at Arun Jaitley stadium in New Delhi was significant for team India as before this game they had registered 12 consecutive wins in T 20 I and they had a golden chance to create a world record of winning 13 games at a stretch in this format. But this did not happen to owe to the apathy of BCCI who let off star players remain absent from doing national duty in spite that the highest cricket body knew that India has won just one of their four T 20 I games against South Africa in India.During the series, several grey areas in team India were observed. Although Pant is not a regular captain his captaincy was not an exceptional one and his similar pattern of dismissals in all the four matches puts a question mark on his inclusion in team India as a batter. His obesity, indecisiveness in selecting the batting orders, and inability to stay cool in difficult situations all came under the scanner.India had a fragile opening combination in the form of Kishan and Gaekwad. Kishan has a minimal range of strokes and one should not be overwhelmed when occasionally he scores well too with the help of dropped catches. Moreover during the World Cup in Australia, extra pace and bounce on Australian pitches are bound to trouble this youngster who is not so – experienced on overseas wickets. The second opener, Gaekwad ( 96 runs in 05 games ) was looking completely out of place especially to play on international wickets due to his current faulty technique against quality speedsters. He fell prey to rising and outgoing express deliveries of Proteas bowlers. The same thing can be said for Shreyas Iyer who repeatedly came at one down in the series despite his helplessnessagainst quality speedsters. It was the sole efforts of middle-order batters, Hardik Pandya and fire-brand Karthik from sailing India out of a humiliating series defeat.The bowling department also looked lame in absence of senior bowlers like Md. Shami and Bumrah. B. Kumar could swing the new ball and Avesh Khan’s s physical power to bowl full-length bouncers which contained the Proteas smashers Miller, Dussen, Klaasen, and the captain Bavuma. These two should be the favorite choice of selectors out of the five pacers who could be in the World Cup playing squad. The spin department was handled by newcomer Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal but both were indeed below par.The above observations made based on the recently concluded India – South Africa T-20 I series indicate that selectors need to get a carefully selected mix of those senior and young players who could play well on overseas pitches which are notorious for their dangerous pace and uneven bounce.About The Author:

Deepanshu Srivastava from Pune is a freelance sports writer, news enthusiast, and storyteller. He may be reached through: arunsri5523@rediffmail.com

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