Return of Sehwag and Zaheer a big boost for India

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 21, 2012 06:52 hrs

It would be interesting to know what the Sri Lankan skipper, Jayawardene's nickname in the dressing room is. Cricketers generally tend to shorten the first name and add an I or a u to a name. Nothing very intelligent or innovative about it. The Australians are different, in the sense that just like the word 'sledging' emerged as the verbal assaults being subtle as a sledgehammer, their dressing room nicknames also are tied up with something that goes with the name. 

So 'Tugga' for Steve was for tug of war [Waugh]  while 'Afghanistan' was for Mark since he made his debut almost 6 years after Steve did and was thus the forgotten war. The reason that all this is brought up is because the Indian captain is called 'Mahi' so wonder what Mahela is called and if his nickname also is 'Mahi' then there could well be a bit of confusion on the field when the two teams clash in the one-day series.

The Indians go in fresh, but cold while the Sri Lankans are match fit and match ready after a tough Test and one-day series against Pakistan. That could well be to the home team's advantage since the weather will play an important role in the result. The heat and humidity in Colombo is energy sapping and so a team that has been used to playing in those conditions will be better prepared, than the one that hasn't. 

The Indians did not get enough practice in the short camp that they had and hopefully they will get used to the heat quick, so that the extra run that has to be stolen will be taken. In limited overs cricket between two well matched teams it is the run saved or taken that often makes the difference between winning and losing, and as was seen in Australia the teams have invariably gone neck and neck for most of the matches. 

The Lankans qualified for the tri-series finals then, but India got back quickly in the Asia Cup that followed even though they didn’t get to the finals there also and so now will be looking to get back to the number one rank as their status, as the world champions deserve. If India win all the five games then they get back to the number one ranking, but more crucially they will begin season 2012-13 on a winning note.

With Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan back in the team there is clearly not just more skill but also experience available to the Indian team, and in tight situations experience comes in very handy indeed. The trick for India will be to get their minds back to the 50 overs format having last played in the IPL which is a T20 version. 

It is an opportunity for some of the fringe players to establish themselves in the team as the think tank looks forward to the 2015 World Cup. There will be a fair bit of churning before the nucleus of that team is seen and these next few series will give some idea of what the team could well look like.

Sri Lanka like most teams are hard to beat in their own environs and it will take a big effort from India to win the series. They have just beaten Pakistan and will be confident as they take on the world champs and try and get back at the loss in the World Cup finals.

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