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Untested India risk running out of gas

I still maintain that India are, on paper, one of the favourites to win this championship, but they need to raise their game quite a few notches. Geoffrey Boycott writes.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2009 02:38 IST

What a game we have on our hands on Sunday - a must-win for both England and India and both need to significantly brush up their act if they intend to make a serious bid for the winner's trophy. I'm sorry, but the matches against South Africa and West Indies have exposed some gaping holes in the two team's armouries. And unless these holes are plugged, I don't see either team holding that trophy aloft.

I still maintain that India are, on paper, one of the favourites to win this championship, but they need to raise their game quite a few notches. Their trouble is that they have not really been tested in this tournament except when they came up against the Windies, and that has worked against them.

We are in the Super Eights now, which is the business end of the tournament, so MS Dhoni and his boys need to forget their triumphs against the likes of Bangladesh and Ireland. Against the West Indies, it didn't help India that their opponents seem to thrive on this format of the game, which is cricket's answer to baseball. Small wonder that so many of the youngsters have taken to it.

By going inside out and lofting the Indian spinners over extra cover, Dwayne Bravo has shown others how to play them, and no doubt India will be careful not to repeat the mistake of focusing too hard on a single batsman, as they did with Chris Gayle.

And what of England? Typically erratic against South Africa, they looked very far from the limited-overs team that they have the potential to become. Make no mistake, South Africa's win was far easier than it looked. The fact that they took 18.2 overs to overhaul a target of 112 doesn't mean they found the going tough. They simply chose to be clinical.

I also think too much was made of England's win against Pakistan, and no allowance made for the fact that South Africa's bowlers belong to a different league altogether. Against India, too, England may find the going tough if they continue to blindly attack.