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Beginning well crucial to India’s chances

india Updated: Sep 08, 2009 00:25 IST
Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar
Hindustan Times
Beginning well crucial to India’s chances

For India, the tri-series in Sri Lanka will mark the beginning of a season where they will be looking to scale the summit of the one-day rankings. Unfortunately, India are scheduled to play only three Tests this season which won't help their chances of going to the number one spot.

The cricketers had a rare two-month break and while they might be a tad short of match practice, the boys will be fresh and raring to go.

The Corporate Trophy would have given them a good outing and they will have shaken off any rustiness by playing in the emerald isle. Most of the players are in top form and with the return of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, the team has a nice blend of youth and experience.

Sri Lanka and New Zealand will have the advantage of being in the thick of the action and would be better prepared than the Indians.

But its not a big issue since the Indians have been regular visitors to Lanka and know what to expect. It would have been a big help if they had held the camp in Chennai which has similar conditions as in Sri Lanka.

India will miss Virender Sehwag's explosiveness at the top though for some reason he has not been as productive in the limited-overs format as he is in the longer version.

Still, opposition teams fear him because he gets the side off to an electric start that can be used as a platform for a mammoth total.

Zaheer Khan's absence will also be felt but with injuries recurring a bit frequently, India should be prepared for a life without him sooner than later. Ishant Sharma will have to take the baton from him and carry the India attack.

He has two years of solid experience and has shown tremendous willingness to learn and improve.

But it is as if he is trying to bowl too fast in limited-overs cricket and that takes the ball quicker off the bat to the boundary.

Harbhajan Singh is probably at the peak of his career, not just with the ball but also with the bat.

His batting has come on so well that he bids fair to be categorised as an all-rounder.

India's fielding, which often is the difference between winning and losing, has improved by leaps and bounds with the induction of young players in the side.

It is a good mix and if this team wins the tournament it won't be a surprise.

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