‘India must play two spinners’

Mumbai: All speculations about a rift between the captain and his deputy can take a backseat, as India’s World Twenty20 title defence starts against a tricky opponent Bangladesh at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge on Saturday.

There’s a wonderful upward curve about this Indian squad in comparison to the one that was crowned inaugural WT20 champions. The team, in the inaugural version of the tournament, had a few boys who hadn’t even cut their teeth on ODIs. However, this time around, the same boys have grown into confident impact players.

Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Yusuf Pathan are not only batting with gay abandon but also rolling their arms over with deadly effect. If that’s not enough add double-trouble Yuvraj Singh (that’s what he is to the opposition side), who has struck a remarkable form with his left-arm orthrodox spin at the recently held IPL-2. And in crisis, the bat of skipper Dhoni talks more often than not.

The unprecedented success of spinners at the recently-concluded IPL-2 has got captains to rethink their strategies. And that is where Bangladesh’s strength lies — spin department.

Former India spinner Maninder Singh cautions India about Abdur Razzaq, Shakib Al Hasan and 21-year-old leggie Raqibul Hasan.

“Had it been a one-day or Test match India would have creamed their spinners but Twenty20 is a dangerous format. They (Bangladesh) have some bowlers who can be hard to get away. I expect them to play at least two to three specialist spinners. That’s their only way of causing an upset,” he tells Cricketnirvana.

This is still an early part of the English summer and the pitches are fresh and tend to offer the bowlers a lot of bounce. Having said that, the mercury in England has already touched 25 degrees centigrade consistently over the last week; bringing the spinners into the act.

Singh reckons India must go in with two specialist spinners. “India must go in with Pragyan Ojha, Harbhajan Singh and all-rounder Yusuf Pathan. I see Ojha getting more wickets than Harbhajan because he is looking to get wickets at all times. Harbhajan has the tendency to be a little defensive if he gets smacked around.”

Sehwag, Zaheer ruled out

Owing to injury, India’s explosive opener Virender Sehwag is all set to miss the championship’s curtain-raiser, giving Rohit Sharma another shot at the top of the order, along side the usually prolific Gautam Gambhir. Though the team will be missing its strike bowler Zaheer Khan, who is expected to be fit in time for the Super Eight stage.

RP Singh is expected to get the nod ahead of Praveen Kumar primarily because of his experience of playing in English conditions and the bagful of wickets he got in the IPL-2. Ishant Sharma will share the new ball alongside RP Singh, while Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha will take charge in the middle overs.

For Bangladesh, the 19-year-old pace sensation Rubel Hossain is most likely to edge out veteran Syed Rasel as Mashrafe Mortaza’s bowling partner. Abdur Razzaq will lead their rather effective spin attack.

A victory would mean a virtual qualification for either team into the Super Eight stage, keeping in the mind the third team in the group, which is the not-so-threatening Ireland.

Nonetheless, cricket is a funny game and has got that tad funnier since the inception of Twenty20.

Weather Forecast

Slight showers are predicted with 14 degrees centigrade being the maximum temperature. This bit of news suddenly changes the equation as either team might be tempted to play the additional medium pacer. The weather is clearer in London but could play spoilsport in Nottingham.

Playing XI (probable)

India: Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain & wicketkeeper), Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, RP Singh.

Playing XI (probable)

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Junaid Siddique, Mohammad Ashraful (captain), Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Mahmudullah, Raqibul Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wicketkeeper), Mashrafe Mortaza, Naeem Islam, Abdur Razzak, Rubel Hossain.

Similar Posts