Virender Sehwag has made the upcoming Twenty20 games between India and Sri Lanka a hugely anticipated affair. Everyone will look for the impossible and quite frankly Viru is capable of living up to it. He alone is now a good enough reason to fill up the stands.
The atmosphere in Nagpur will understandably be electric. India is keen to make up for the reverses which have been its bane in this format lately.
A look at the squad suggests that India are keen to try out a new mix, which is good. A few names straightaway interest us. There is something about youngsters which brings in anticipation. There is R Ashwin, a 23-year-old off-spinner from Tamil Nadu who is tall and miserly and no rabbit with the bat either. He made quite an impression in his first season itself. His rise has been swift for he is also a contracted player.
Ashok Dinda, an IPL star from Kolkata is another one to look forward to. Sudeep Tyagi is another youngster who is straining at the leash. Above all, one is looking forward for Rohit Sharma to come out firing. With the biggies of Tests and one-dayers taking a welcome break, the next few weeks belong to the youngsters. The Rainas and Sharmas have the example of Gautam Gambhir to live up to.
Indian fans must not be taken in by the 2-0 Test series scoreline . Sri Lanka looks infinitely superior in Twenty20 with the return of proven talents such as Lasith Malinga and Chamara Kapugedara, not to forget the evergreen Sanath Jayasuriya. Sehwag and Jayasuriya have been the best smackers of a cricket ball in modern cricket. Looking for favourites is thus a worthless exercise.
The team batting first will have an advantage and it is an accepted wisdom in a day-night match. But Twenty20 is a cruel format and there are more flips and twists than a gymnast is able to mange on a beam. India will hope Yusuf Pathan comes good, for despite his indifferent form, he is a match-winner. It’s good selectors are keeping him in sight. They did so with Sehwag and were rewarded amply and Yusuf has similar knack of producing a rabbit from a hat. Such magicians, at all times, are good characters to have around.