The winner of the inaugural T20 championships is certainly one of the favourites to lift the title for the second time. What makes them favorite is that the championship is for the first time being organised in their familiar subcontinent conditions and add to it the rich IPL experience. In Sri Lanka, they have the opportunity of achieving the unique distinction of becoming the first team to hold world title in both the limited overs format at the same time.
The team has a performed fairly consistently in the shortest format.
Strength: Of course, batting is Men in Blue’s biggest asset. In Virender Sehwag they have one of the most explosive batsmen across all three formats. His chemistry with Gautam Gambhir makes them one of the most dangerous opening pair.
In the middle, Virat Kohli, who has risen in the last one year or so to become the current best Indian batsman, along with limited over specialists Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma provide a combination that has the ability to accelerate and contain as per the need. MS Dhoni over his career has established his reputation as the best finisher.
In Yuvraj Singh they have one of the biggest hitter of the cricket ball (remember his 6 sixes in an over?) but this in turn depends if he is selected in the final playing XI if he is fit enough.
Irfan Pathan has made a comeback and seems to have settled in the team as far as the limited overs format is concerned and his all-round abilities will surely come handy for the Indian team.
In R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla the team has a spin attack that is experienced and varied in approach.
Weakness: Rohit Sharma has failed in the 50 over format of the game but has consistently dished out solid T20 performances. However, his uncertain form didn’t have any effect on his selection for the T20 World Cup owing to his fairly successful IPL 5 season.
Indian team has tried several combinations for the opening stand but the results have been inconsistent. The duo of Sehwag and Gambhir does look a strong prospect on the paper but they haven’t been that successful as an opening pair when it comes to T20I.
Their major weakness happens to be an average bowling attack with a tendency to leak runs aplenty. A lot rests on their spinners and part-time bowlers to contain the run-flow and at the same time provide breakthroughs.
Opportunities: Though they are a strong unit and have been drawn in Group A with defending champion England and Afghanistan.
Getting through to the Super Eight shouldn’t be a problem for them and the team surely can claim of being better familiar with the Lankan conditions than any other team off late as they have been touring the nation almost every year for one series or other.
Each of their squad members can boast of a rich T20 experience owing to their participation in the IPL.
Threat: India are grouped with top-ranked T20 side in the world England. They may have one of the top T20 batsmen but the team has the tendency to fail collectively. Besides, the bowling continues to be their concern. They are yet to find an able partner for Zaheer Khan to complement his swing. Although, Umesh Yadav has the speed, he has been erratic at times. The major burden will be shared by Zaheer and R Aswhin in the bowling department.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary, Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Ashok Dinda.
Record: Played: 37, Won: 20, Lost: 15, Tied: 1, No Result: 1
v Afghanistan at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo on 19 September, 14:00 GMT
v England at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo on 23 September, 14:00 GMT