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A new lease of life for T20 format

A few days into the World Twenty20, and it's obvious the cricketing world just can't have enough of this format. The long Indian Premier League is just over but the audience's appetite is insatiable, Ravi Shastri writes.

cricket Updated: Jun 10, 2009 00:32 IST

A few days into the World Twenty20, and it's obvious the cricketing world just can't have enough of this format. The long Indian Premier League is just over but the audience's appetite is insatiable.

India and Pakistan are bringing fans in droves to England grounds. The warm-up game against Pakistan and the India-Bangladesh tie had stands packed to the rafters. The organisers made more money in the warm-up games than they did in the entire 1999 World Cup. The game has a new lease of life.

It does help that the Indians are in such irresistible form. Everything was clinical about their win over Bangladesh. The tactics too are now obvious and one can expect Ishant Sharma, Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha to man the middle overs.

India can further fine-tune their tactics in the game against Ireland. It's important they don't drop guard against Ireland, for this result can have a bearing in the SuperEights stage. The Indians have a tough draw in the second round with the West Indies, England and South Africa being the obstacles to their progress to the knockout round.

It's interesting that M.S. Dhoni has an uncanny knack of assigning new roles to youngsters and then having the satisfaction of seeing them come good. Rohit Sharma isn't letting the absence of Virender Sehwag to be felt. Ishant too has slipped into his role as first-change bowler with ease. He doesn't get the final overs and that's because the captain isn't yet sure if the young fast bowler can bowl yorkers at will.

India could have two critical matches at Trent Bridge - against South Africa in the final SuperEights and then a possible semifinal engagement.

Spinners obviously would have a huge role to play. The pitches at Lord's and Oval, for that matter, are not burning decks either.

Did Australia pay the price of not having too many part-time spinners? These were the kind of wickets where they needed to post bigger totals. The opponents could chase down the targets without working up a sweat.