India open their campaign to regain the ICC World T20 Cup on Ganesh Chaturthi. How auspicious that is only time will tell. They begin with the game against minnows Afghanistan, but they know that in this format anybody can spring a surprise. The format of the game is also such that no team will try too many experiments.
The margin between teams is very slim, so don't expect too many changes. India's biggest plus will be the spin department. It is not easy to go after quality spin and that is why the selection committee has brought back Harbhajan Singh. He may not get a look in with Ashwin being the main bowler in the team now, but it is an option the skipper has.
The warm up matches and the loss to Pakistan has brought out the deficiencies in the attack. India has invariably gone for plenty in the final overs because there is no variety in the bowling. Trying the slower deliveries is never easy unless there is loads of practice doing it, and that is where India seem one dimensional. It is not just the change of pace, but also the good yorker that India does not have and so batsmen can make room and hit where they find a vacant spot.
The big plus has been the return to form of Rohit Sharma. Here is a player who has shots all round the dial, but whose shot selection has let him down at times. Sometimes it is better to have limited range of shots so that the player only tries those.
Being an elegant batsman with time to spare to play strokes is a curse especially when a player is going through the horrors. It is then thought that he is not putting enough work and not trying hard. This is far from true because nobody likes to fail especially when playing for the country, but since even the dismissal looks elegant, the thinking of the uninitiated is that it is a loose and casual shot, and so the batsman gets damned for it.
Rohit Sharma will always have to bear that cross because he is such a gifted player. Virat Kohli continues the good form and he is smart enough to know that form is a fickle mistress and can desert a player any time. So he is making the most of it and not throwing it away.
The ICC one day player of the year award will no doubt galvanize him and make him strive to live up to that billing. The openers are the main worry at the moment for India, but both Sehwag and Gambhir are big match players and relish the contest against top opponents. If they bat for 10 overs India could well be on the way to a near 200 score.
Well begun is half done and India will be looking to win big because that will also send a signal to the rest that the original champions are back and mean business.