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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Strengths and Weaknesses of Indian Team in Twenty20 World Cup 2009

ICC Twenty20 World Cup 2009 starts from 5 June 2009 with host England taking on Netherlands in the opening game of the tournament. India is the defending champion and the men in blue are favorite for the tournament. No doubt, India has a balanced squad in the presence of some quality players. Here, I am going to write about the strengths and weaknesses of Indian squad:

Batting

Strength: Batting is perhaps the main strength of Indian team. There are a number of big-hitters like Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan and Rohit Sharma. The most important thing is that Indian batting line up has the much-needed variety. For example, in the opening pair, India has a fiery opener like Virender Sehwag who can take the match away from opposition’s grip by hitting big shots, while his opening partner Gambhir can rotate the score by taking singles and doubles and can go after the bowlers whenever needed.

You can find the evidence of variety in Indian middle order too. Yuvraj Singh is a classy player who is well-known for his six 6s in an over during inaugural twenty20 world cup. He is also a good finisher. Raina has shown excellent prospect over the last couple of years and he always poses a threat for the opposition bowlers because of his excellent hard-hitting skill. Dhoni and Rohit Sharma are also big hitters, but the most important thing about these two batsmen is that they can remain calm and poised under pressure and bring the match out of opponent’s hand. In the presence of two big hitting all rounders Yusuf Pathan and Irfan Pathan, Indian batting line up also possesses a good depth which is very important for a balanced side.

Weakness: The biggest weakness of the current Indian batting line up is the recent form of some of the key players. Gambhir and Sehwag have not been in good form in IPL 2009, while Yuvraj Singh also had an ordinary tournament in IPL. Another thing is that Indian batsmen sometimes fail to hold on to their composure when under pressure, especially in the last overs. When batting first, Indian batsmen need to score more runs in the last 5 overs. Sometimes, they lose 2 or 3 wickets in the space of 2 overs, and after that, they can not come back strongly which is very important. However, overall Indian batting line up is very strong and is perhaps one of the best at this moment.

Bowling

Strength: Indian bowlers have seen considerable success over the last one year in all three formats. Specially, two pacers: Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma- have consistently capitalized on the new ball. Zaheer Khan has excellent line and length and his bowling was proves very effective in the dead overs. Ishant Sharma does it with swing in the opening overs as he can swing the ball in both ways. Another pacer Praveen Kumar may not be the speediest man in the side, but he can bowl maintaining good line and length with considerable swing consistently. Bowlers like Praveen Kumar might get enough assistance from England’s seaming condition. Moreover, he is also very effective in the last five overs. RP Singh has earned a recall to the Indian side thanks to his tremendous performance in the recently concluded IPL second edition as he ended up becoming the leading wicket taker in the tournament.

Let us look at India’s spin attack which is led by off spinner Harbhajan Singh. English condition may not help the spinners a lot, but still, Harbhajan has the ability to check the run rate which is very important in the 20-over format. Left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha has been pretty much consistent for sometime now, and his presence would give India a vital option for their spin attack. Leg spinner Yusuf Pathan brings variety in their spin attack. There are also a number of effective occasional spinners like Ravindra Jadeja Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, who got two hat-tricks in IPL 2009, Virender Sehwag and Rohit Sharma. No doubt, the variety of options in their bowling attack must give India an edge.

Weakness: The biggest weakness of India bowlers is that they concede many runs in the slog overs. This is where they should work on. Another thing is that Indian bowlers lack attacking intent to some extent. After taking couple of wickets, Indian bowlers fail to capitalize on that to create pressure on the new batsmen. Rather, sometimes they allow the new batsmen to settle down.

Fielding

Strength: India’s fielding has improved a lot under the current fielding coach Robin Singh, who himself was well-known for his good fielding. Yuvraj Singh is a very good fielder who is usually deployed in square mainly because of his excellent diving skill. He can save boundaries and take flying catches that sometimes change the condition of the game. Raina has been another excellent fielder among the men in blue. He is very good at ground fielding and his throws are very effective as well. There are some other players like Yusuf Pathan and Rohit Sharma who can save runs in the boundary line which in turn helps India to restrict the opposition’s score as much as possible.

Weakness: Consistency is the biggest problem for Indian fielders. India has a bunch of young players who are normally very good in running, throwing and catching, but sometimes they drop catches at crucial moment. This is mainly because of lack of experience. This is totally psychological which might be improved with time.

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