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T20: Young India to bank on strategy

Today's match will be a tough one for them purely because they are novices in this form of cricket, reports Amol Karhadkar.

cricket Updated: Sep 13, 2007 03:20 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times

With just two sessions to prepare them for this format, the Indian team is set to open its World Twenty20 campaign against Scotland in a Group D tie at Kingsmead in Durban on Thursday.

As Scotland were troubling Pakistan in their opening match, the Indians were sweating it out at the adjoining Kingsmead Oval for only their second and last warm-session ahead of an encounter, the format of which is alien to most of the Indian players. <b1>

But if Wednesday's game between New Zealand and Kenya is an indication, the Kingsmead track will not be like a belter as the one at the Wanderers, where more than 400 runs were scored in less than 38 overs in the tournament opener on Tuesday night.

The wicket is certain to have something in it for the fast bowlers and it won't be surprising if India go in with three seamers. The team management, though, will have a problem in picking the trio as three of the five medium-pacers — Irfan Pathan, Joginder Sharma and Ajit Agarkar — can bat and bowl while Rudra Pratap Singh and S Sreesanth excelled with the ball in the recent England series

If India go ahead and play three seamers, which seems most likely, they will have to choose either Piyush Chawla, who had an outstanding one-day series in England, or Harbhajan Singh, staging a comeback after the World Cup. Yusuf Pathan, the other off-spinner in the side, can also get a look-in as an all-rounder.

Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Robin Uthappa select themselves by virtue of their batting prowess. and given the emphasis on utility cricketers it appears that two of the three all-rounders — the Pathan brothers and Joginder — will be in the XI.

That would leave Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma and Gautam Gambhir fighting for the remaining two spots.

The match, irrespective of their opponents, will be a tough outing for the Indians purely because they are novices in this form of the game. To counter this drawback, the stress will be on tactics, and Dhoni made it clear on Wednesday that given a choice, he would like to bat first.

"With such a formidable line-up, I would always prefer batting first and setting a target rather than chasing one," Dhoni told reporters. The whole cricket fraternity is looking forward to Friday's India-Pakistan match.

But Dhoni insisted that India are looking at "one game at a time and focussed on Scotland ".

First Published: Sep 13, 2007 01:30 IST