The men in blue have taken off from Mumbai on October 7th for the upcoming T20 cricket World Cup to be played in Australia. Ever since winning the inaugural edition of the T20 Cricket World Cup in 2007, things have taken a U-turn for the Indian cricket team in the later editions. When it comes to major tournaments it is not always about individual performances, the Indian cricket team will be looking forward to a collective performance to get hold of the US $1.6 million trophy. With the hosts being the reigning champions at this year’s World Cup, it is a daunting task at the hands of Rohit Sharma and his men. However, Team India is always considered a favourite when it comes to cricket. Let us take a look at why?
It sounds ridiculous that batters need just a willow to whack a ball the size of an apple out of the stands. Be it in the past or the present, India has always produced batters of the highest calibre. T20 cricket is all about hitting the ball out of the park. Fortunately, India has been consistent in producing quality batters who can do the task with perfection. The opening pair is most likely to be unchanged from their previous games, which means Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul are likely to open the innings. The warm-up games that are currently being played in the host country suggest that KL Rahul seems to have found his touch in the knick of time. Skipper Rohit Sharma is expected to be the more attacking of the two. The duo recently grabbed headlines by breaking the record for the highest number of 50-plus partnerships. If both the batters do well, then the man to follow can go at the ball at full swing. The opposition bowlers will be having a tough time with one of the greatest cricketers to have played the game next to follow.
Virat Kohli broke his century drought of more than 1000 days by scoring a tonne against Afghanistan in the recently concluded Asia Cup. Well, if he is anywhere near his prime in the upcoming cricket carnival, then we are well assured of a place in the final four. Speaking of four, the Indian team’s recent victories would not have been possible if not for our number four batsman. Surya Kumar Yadav, or more fondly known as ‘SKY’ these days, has been the talk of the town ever since he came to the international stage. Currently ranked second in the men’s T20 rankings, Surya Kumar Yadav has been at ease each time he comes to the crease. He has the ability to clear the ball to all areas of the park. Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Dinesh Karthik are all expected to be in the starting lineup. All three are finishers who can push the final score across the border, but it remains to be seen if anyone can be a finisher with the calmness of MS Dhoni. A couple of tailenders in the side are also good with the bat considering their batting positions. This could come in handy in the event of an unprecedented batting collapse.
Rohit Sharma’s Captaincy
With five titles as captain of the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, Rohit Sharma’s captaincy speaks volumes. Having recorded 35 wins in 45 matches as captain, it remains to be seen if he can lead the side to a major international trophy. King Kohli had a similar outing as captain but couldn’t bring out the best from the team in major tournaments. After having captained the Indian team in 45 matches, Hitman has surely proven what he is capable of. The question, though, is, can he handle the pressure of major international tournaments, the fans, media, management, etc. He sure did cut a subdued figure when the opposition had the upper hand in a couple of instances, but much is still expected of him.
From the slums to the decks of skyscrapers, from paddy fields to cricket grounds that are as high as 2444m above sea level, cricket is being played everywhere in India. With a population of over 1.4 billion people, India is one of the countries where cricket has outshone football. With Indian’s migrating to every corner of the world in search of jobs, education, etc., it is not much of a surprise to see the stands in every stadium painted in blue. Australia, where the current World Cup is going to be held, is no different when it comes to the population of Indians. Half the stands is supposed to be filled with blue Jersey’s when India starts their opening fixture on the 23rd of October against Pakistan. The thunderous roars of the fans will be an extra motivation for Team India to go out all guns blazing in every match. With the support of a crowd that shows it’s presence in every corner of the world, there is limited scope for team India to feel the pressure of playing away from home.
India’s batting approach has been different ever since Rohit Sharma came into the forefront of things. The current Indian team knows only one thing, and that is to win matches right from the beginning. Batters begin an inning with a positive attitude and do not rely solely on loose balls to drive them out of the park.Attacking every ball has become the new strategy that the men in blue have become accustomed to. Even if wickets fall like ninepins, there is no change of plans, the set batter tries to do the damage every single delivery. With people who can bat at the number seven and eight positions in the squad, there is no risk in such a plan as it is a limited over format. The positive approach has reaped rich dividends in all the recent series victories, but at the same time faltered in occasional instances. It remains to be seen whether the team will continue to wreak havoc or make a change of plans at the last minute.
Rohit Sharma (Captain), K L Rahul (Vice Captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami.
Standby Players: Mohammed Siraj, Shreyas Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi, Shardul Thakur.