India look to regain pride in T20 games
Their reputation bruised and battered after the humiliating loss in the Test series, India will be desperate to turn their fortunes around and restore some pride in the limited overs matches, starting with the first T20 against Australia here on Sunday.
The Indians slumped to their lowest ebb in the longer version of the last week when Australia mauled the visitors by a 4-0 margin in the Test series.
The drubbing at the hands of Australia was also the current ODI world champion team's eight straight overseas Test defeat following the series loss by identical margin in England last year.
But with some fresh legs - Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary, Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Parthiv Patel, Ravidra Jadeja and Rahul Sharma - joining the team for the limited overs matches, MS Dhoni would be hoping for lady luck to smile on him in the first of the two T20 matches tomorrow ahead of the tri-series, featuring hosts Australia and Sri Lanka. With India's famed batting line-up failing miserably in the Test series, there is a scramble for early berths in opening T20 match at the ANZ Stadium.
There is competition for each spot in the team, especially after the debacle in the Test series.
The opening duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have time and again failed to give India a good start in the Test series. To add to it, skipper Dhoni himself has looked a pale shadow of his former self with the bat as well as his leadership qualities.
The trio knows it better that it is high time for them to perform or make way for youngsters like Manoj Tiwary and Parthiv Patel, who are waiting in the wings for their opportunity.
Only the second Australian cricketer to be named captain on debut in any format, Twenty20 skipper George Bailey is nervous about the challenge of proving his credentials both as a batsman and captain.
Bailey is the first Australian since Dave Gregory (in the first Test match in 1877) to be named captain in his first game in any format. "I'm nervous about both. The playing aspect, you're always anxious to get out there and perform well. Once I get my head around knowing the players as well as I can, that (captaincy) will fall into place.
Getting to know
"Being captain it's about getting around the bowlers who I haven't met as much and know about their games and just working out exactly what they need as well."
It's a surprise that the Australian selectors have chosen an unknown quantity to lead the national team.
"It wasn't me who picked the team. I'm just excited to be leading and continuing on the great start of the summer Australia have had," he said.