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Champs look to buck the trend
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, September 13, 2012
First Published: 23:28 IST(13/9/2012)
Last Updated: 01:32 IST(14/9/2012)
England's Stuart Broad is seen in this file photo.

No team has defended its World T20 title in the three editions of the tournament so far. Here's England's chance for a first.

But somehow the team and its media are too busy sorting out Kevin Pietersen, a key player in their triumph over Australia in the 2010 final. The South African-born match-winning batsman won't be there in Sri Lanka.

But having won the title in the West Indies, their first major limited overs title after thrice falling at the final hurdle in the ICC ODI World Cup, coach Andy Flower should take heart from the fact that conditions in Sri Lanka won't be too different from their place of achievement.

Familiar conditions
Conditions in Sri Lanka have changed since Muttiah Muralitharan's retirement and they are far removed from the dust bowls of the past.

England, with their battery of medium-pacers led by captain Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and the lanky Steven Finn backed up by the slow-medium of Jade Dernbach and Ravi Bopara, could prove a handful. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/9/14_09_pg18a.jpg

Left-arm spinner Samit Patel and experienced offie Graeme Swann gives the right balance to the attack in this hit-all format.

KP will be missed
The experience of Pietersen, however, would be felt in the middle-order though and it would be interesting to see how likes of young Craig Kieswetter, who is settling down into an opener's role, Jos Buttler, the hard-hitting Jonny Bairstow and Luke Wright perform under pressure.

Spin test
Bopara and Eoin Morgan lend a bit of experience in the batting but the latter's vulnerability against spin is now not unknown.

That was one of the main reasons why he did not play a single match for Kolkata Knight Riders last season.

The big challenge
So how England fare if they have to chase a big total will have quite a few eyeballs on them.

If they clear that test with flying colours, they could be the team to beat in the competition.What slightly tilts the balance in their favour, is the ability of the likes of Bopara, Bairstow, Buttler, Kieswetter and Patel to clear the ground at will.

If everything falls into place, a defence is possible and if that happens, T20 can reach new heights in England and 2012 could attain a position of eminence alongside 1966 and 2003.


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