Team India begin their campaign of regaining the ICC World Twenty20 title that they won in the inaugural year with a game against Afghanistan. It is a game that their skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said they will not take lightly and that is the way to go. A team that is aspiring to win the Cup has to look to win all its games, for that not only builds a winning habit and tempo, but also creates a fear factor in the opposition.
That is why even the warm-up games are crucial. India because of the IPL could not go earlier to the Caribbean to play any warm-up games. Fortunately the weather and the pitches will be quite similar to those in India, so the acclimatisation needed is only on the body clock side and not so much on the playing side. Afghanistan have qualified by dint of some good cricket and while the effects of the war is a question they will be fed up with, they would want to show that despite all that, they still can play good cricket.
Dreaming about an Indo-Pak slugfest
Some of the Afghan players have even cheekily suggested that if they do well, they could be in line for a place in the IPL. That is a great incentive not just to them but also those who have not been part of the IPL and there will be many a franchise who will be all eyes and ears while the ICC World Twenty20 is on, simply because with the players going into an auction for IPL 4, they will look to balance their teams and some new players always add to the surprise factor.
The game against Afghanistan is one that gives a chance to those out of form Indian players to try and recapture some touch. Yuvraj who had an ordinary IPL by his standards will relish the chance to play a relatively tension free game and without the hoopla that an IPL game generates. So also the bowlers who can be whacked around the ground without worrying about the crowd giving them the hoots.
T20 World Cup
What will be interesting to see is the bowling of Afghanistan. Do they have quick bowlers or do they have wily spinners? The batting one can expect will be attacking for it is the format they will have been brought up on. That’s why India’s spinners may have a big role to play since there is every chance that the Afghans will not have batted against quality spin like Harbhajan Singh and co. The ‘doosra’ is a delivery they may only have heard of but not countered.
The game will give India just the warm-up that they need after a long flight and such a big time difference from India. What they must ensure is that the warm-up does not get too hot for the team.
Professional Management Group