India have got themselves a mountain to climb with the big loss they suffered to Australia in their first super eight game. They now play arch rivals Pakistan, who kept their nerve and went on to win a close game against South Africa. It is just the kind of win that boosts the confidence in the dressing room and Pakistan will take on India with a great deal, more energy and enthusiasm than if they had lost the first game.
What will please Pakistan even more is the manner in which the talented, but under-performing Umar Akmal took them home. Yes, it was the big hitting of another Umar, Gul that got them close, but it was Akmal, who kept the score ticking over too.
Ever since he came on the scene there has never been any question about Umar Akmal’s ability, but the manner of his dismissals under pressure situations brought out doubts about his temperament. With this innings Pakistan will hope that the younger Akmal has turned the corner and will now be more consistent with the bat.
When India started the tournament with just four bowlers there were many who questioned the wisdom of that. When the batting line up had Irfan Pathan slotted at number eight why have only four bowlers was the query. Now that Dhoni went in with five bowlers against Australia and India got just one wicket those same people are asking why he went in with five bowlers.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing especially for those who don’t have to make tough decisions and it will be interesting to now hear what they believe the combination for the crucial game against Pakistan should be. It was also interesting to read that Dhoni’s team mate and right hand man Suresh Raina saying that Sehwag should play the next two games.
Quite clearly there are divided opinions in the dressing room and while that seldom comes in the way of performance on the field it should not be out in the open. Any difference of views should be in the four walls of the dressing room.
Sehwag’s selection of course will be a topic of discussion before the Pakistan game, but with Chawla having injured his hand while fielding in the dying stages of the game the possibility that Sehwag will replace him in the team is pretty good.
Sehwag has that ability to create the fear factor and despite the hit and miss nature of the T20 format if you ask any team whether they would bowl to him or have him sit in the reserves the answer will be the latter. He can take the game away in a matter of overs.
Now if he plays with the determination of a player wanting to prove his omission wrong then we all could be in for a treat. On the other hand if he plays in a sulk about his omission from the previous game then he will add to the voices of those wanting him out of the squad and not just the playing eleven.
If India lose then they will go out of the tournament and on the evidence of their performance in the super eight stage of the tournament since 2007 there is not much hope. They have yet to win a single game in the super eight since 2007 and if they don’t do that on Sunday then it may have to wait till 2014.
Professional Management Group