When the first edition of ICC T20 World Cup was announced, back in the summer of 2007, cricket lovers did not know what to expect really! Before that, the shortest form of the game was mostly restricted to Club Cricket with an occasional International friendly, here and there. However, the edge of the seat drama, the countless nail biting moments and finally India winning the coveted crown had ushered in a new age in the Gentleman’s game.
The Men In Blue were a revelation that summer. A young team lead by an inexperienced Mahendra Singh Dhoni, unleashed a ruthless and fearless brand of cricket, which had taken many of their able competitors by storm! Building on that win, India took centre stage in world cricket. First they won the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 and then the ICC Champions’ Trophy in 2013. The Men In Blue did not have to look back, after that. However, what separates the good teams from the great ones, is probably the insatiable urge to win and then win some more! Let us look at Spain, for example, a team which has taken over the world of Football in the last decade or so: Euro Champions, then World Champions and then Euro Champions again! They have a completed a full circle and who knows where they will end up? So, now, the burning questing: Can our Men In Blue do something on the same lines? Can they repeat history? Can they finish what they had started?
On paper, the team looks quite rock solid. It should, given the fact that the squad consists of 90% of the same players who won us the Champions’ Trophy last year, that too without losing a single match! Much will depend on the opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. If they can provide with the much required impetus at the top, then the advantage will be with India. It won’t be a far cry to say that India has the best No3 in the business right now, in the form of Virat Kohli. For the past couple of years, he has been the mainstay of the batting order and this time will be no different.
A lot of furore has been created about India’s patchy performances in the recently concluded Asia Cup. But it needs to be remembered that they were without the services of Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and arguably the best finisher in the shortest format: Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Dhoni, especially, is the one to look out for. His unorthodox game play, unmatched temperament and shrewd understanding of the game makes him an integral part of the squad. Standing behind the stumps, he exudes a sense of calmness which seem to rub into the other players!
Coming to the bowling department Mohammed Sami, Bhubaneshwar Kumar,Ravichandra Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja pretty much pick themselves. The interesting battle will take place for the last berth: Between Varun Aaron and Amit Mishra. Personally, I would love to see Dhoni take a gamble and go with the quickie Aaron. Anyway, we have a pretty potent spin attack comprising of Jadeja and Ashwin; And the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Raina can be called upon, if the need be. But in these rough and patchy conditions, reverse swing will definitely come into the picture and this is where India may have the upper hand if they utilize the raw brute of Aaron!
All in all, India have a pretty balanced squad and if they play to their potential there is no reason why they can’t complete this cycle of greatness and make their fans bleed blue!