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Over to Twenty20

On Tuesday evening, India take on Lanka in a one-off T20 match at the Premadasa and the oganisers hope to get a much better response from the crowds that has stayed away in most of the One-day matches, reports Nilankur Das.

cricket Updated: Feb 10, 2009 13:56 IST
Nilankur Das

It's fun, says Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It’s good to develop your cricketing skills, says Mahela Jayawardene. It’s like hanging a bowler by his neck, says our Ishant Sharma.

On Tuesday evening, India take on Sri Lanka in a one-off T20 match at the Premadasa and the oganisers hope to get a much better response from the crowds that has stayed away in most of the One-day matches. But is the atmosphere going to be any different from the One-dayers? Will it be something like the matches in the Indian Premier League, with blaring music and dancing in the stands? Well, anywhere you go to see a cricket match in Sri Lanka, there are trumpets and drums playing throughout the 50-over matches and the foot-tapping numbers don't let the dancing relent.

So what’s new in store on Tuesday? If there is a good crowd turnout, it would be another evening of party irrespective of who wins the match. In terms of cricket, the match gives the teams an opportunity to gear up for the IPL season coming up, more importantly, for the T20 World Cup in England in June.

As part of a build-up for the biennial event, the trophy that India would look to defend in England made a tour here.

“ICC is trying to take the trophy to as many countries as possible before the tournament and we are trying to coincide the visit with T20 matches,” Brian Murgatroyd, the ICC media manager said.

For this match, Sri Lanka have left out senior players like skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan and Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan would lead a new-look side that won’t feature Ajantha Mendis as well.

“T20 helps batsmen improve. It’s because of the experience of playing in T20 matches that One-dayers these days produce scores of over 300 quite regularly. It is a learning experience for the bowlers as it disciplines their line and length,” Jayawardene said.

For India, other than Sachin Tendulkar, who left for home late on Sunday night, everyone else is up for selection. “It will be a good match and we will enjoy ourselves. That’s what T20 is all about,” Dhoni said.

For Ishant Sharma the whole T20 game is about bowling during Powerplays. “There is very little room for error and you have to keep bowling at the right areas. The full 20 overs are like a Powerplay. It’s like hanging a bowler by his neck,” Ishant, who was not part of the team that won India the World Cup in South Africa, said. “I had seen the reception the team got in Mumbai. I am looking forward to playing in the team this time and help India defend the title,” he added.