WT20 Profiles – The Big Three

In the final of our four-part series of team profiles of the World Twenty20, we bring you India, Australia and South Africa.


The tag of the reigning ICC World Twenty20 champion seems to sit lightly on Team India, but to wear it with distinction the boys will have to spill their gut out there in the ground. It’s a fact that every country would be gunning for India, but the balance of the side would give a lot of heart to captain MS Dhoni. Men in Blue are certainly one of the favourites to take home the sterling trophy.

Captain: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Captaincy seems to have mellowed his nuclear-powered batting but it still remains a force to reckon with. Having won the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 championships in 2007 with a young and unknown team, this time he’d have the advantage of going into the tournament with the knowledge that his boys have been there and done that.

He’s been a smart captain who also has had the Lady Luck on his side but deep down he must be thinking hard to find ways to win against the Kiwis, who have beaten his team in the last three encounters. And yes, the captain cool must be little worried about the bowlers for the death overs.

Coach: Gary Kirsten

An antithesis to his predecessor Greg Chappell, Gary Kirsten’s presence is barely noticeable. Perhaps, that’s where his greatest strength lies — his ways with the boys, which are nothing short of magical. Team India has wonderfully evolved under him and the boys vouch for it. He silently inspires his team to perform at the biggest stage and this time it’s going to be no different.


It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say almost the entire team. But the players to watch out for would be Sehwag and Gambhir at the top, Raina, Yuvraj, Rohit, Yusuf and Dhoni in the middle order and Harbhajan, Pragyan and Ishant Sharma as bowlers. Does that leave many?

Squad: Mahendra Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Pragyan Ojha, Irfan Pathan


Having won every tournament worth its name, the ICC World Twenty20 is the only trophy that’s missing from the trophy cabinet of Australia. And they would do anything to win the tournament. The intensity and purpose of the team came shining through in their warm-up match against New Zealand, which they won convincingly.

With both their batsmen and bowlers firing with all the cylinders on, Ponting’s boys surely go in the championship as one of the favourites. Even though Australia finds itself in the toughest Group C along with Sri Lanka and West Indies, things should simple flow for them.

Captain: Ricky Ponting

Though regarded as one of the most feared contemporary batsmen, Ponting’s bat has admittedly failed to create any flutter in the T20 format. He’d love to change all that this time around.

If his belligerent 56 against the Kiwis in the practice match is any indication to go by, Ponting seems to be on the ball. Packed with talented players and coupled with Ponting’s captaincy acumen, Australia would be the team to beat.

Coach: Tim Nielsen

The Australian coach must be counting himself lucky to have been gifted with a handful of match winners. Having successfully steered his team’s fortune so far after taking over the baton from John Buchanan, Nielsen must be on overdrive on his laptop to lay out an elaborate plan for his team to win the trophy.


Actually, Ponting has a problem of plenty. From David Warner, Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds, not to forget Ponting himself, anyone can prove to be a match-winner on the day. Even in bowling department, the Aussie side is packed with lethal bowlers like Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken, who can bring any opposition down.

Squad: Ricky Ponting (c), Michael Clarke (vc), Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin (wk), Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Hauritz, James Hopes, David Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Michael Hussey, Brett Lee, Peter Siddle, Andrew Symonds, David Warner, Shane Watson.

South Africa

South Africa’s skipper Graeme Smith is disturbed by the ‘big event chokers tag’ © AFPIt surely ranks as the most athletic and balanced team and starts as near favourites in the second edition of the ICC World Twenty20. They come into the event with two one-day series wins against Australia besides a 2-0 win in the Twenty20 series.

To top that a host of players have shone remarkably well in last month’s IPL-2. South Africa are grouped alongside New Zealand and Scotland in Group D. Unfortunately, the Proteas are yet to win a World Cup, Champions Trophy or World Twenty20.

Captain: Graeme Smith

By his high standards, the workman like southpaw hasn’t got the sort of runs in the last three months or so but he’s gifted with unparalleled grit and determination, which invariably allows him to soar past the difficult times with big, inspirational knocks.

He recently said that the ‘big event chokers tag’ bothers him, considering the percentage of games that South Africa win, in comparison to other teams.

Coach: Mickey Arthur

His outlook gives him a sort of a hardnosed persona but quality of chemistry he shares with his players has made him a highly-respected General of sorts. It’s no mystery that champions are made when the captain and coach are on the same page.


It becomes an extremely difficult pick considering the amount of impact players Smith has in his team. The swift moving legs of AB de Villiers and JP Duminy in the middle-order add the sort of intensity which can derail any opposition. Herscehelle Gibbs at the top of the order and the old warhorse Jacques Kallis make for good reading too.

South Africa’s late middle-order is as impressive as any with hard-hitters Albie Morkel, Roelof van der Merwe and of course the talismanic Mark Boucher. The bowling looks splendid with Dale Steyn, young seamer Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel and wily off-spinner Johan Botha, who has emerged as one of the best bowlers in the death overs


Graeme Smith (capt), Johan Botha, Yusuf Abdulla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Roelof van der Merwe.

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