Twenty 20 World Cup
No one knows for sure whether twenty-20 cricket has come to stay, whether it will flourish like one day cricket and force test cricket and one day cricket to take the back seat. No body knows either what will be the capacity of a batsman or a bowler in terms of scoring runs or taking wickets in this form of cricket? Will a batsman will be soon able to score century – a feat which till now has eluded the world’s greatest present day batters in international level in this form of cricket? Will it be in this world cup itself which kicks off in south Africa today? The highest individual score by a batsman in an international match of this form of cricket till date is 98 not out, which was been recorded by the Australian captain Rickey Ponting in 2005 against new Zealand at Auckland. The second highest individual score also belongs to an Australian – 96 by Damien Martyn.
In India, cricket lovers are keeping their fingers crossed over the question of India’s chances in this first twenty-20 world cup. India’s interest in this form of cricket has been Luke warm so far. While most of the international teams have already played quite a few number of such matches among themselves, India can boast of having played only one international match so far and that too more than 9 months ago. Even Kenya and Bangladesh have played more such matches. It is to India’s credit that although inexperienced, they recorded an emphatic 6 wickets victory over South Africa Africa in the former’s debut match!
But time has changed since then. Indian twenty-20 world cup squad has got rid of the triumvirate of Sachin, Saurav and Rahul. India’s all-knowing cricket administrators have come up with the novel idea that twenty-20 cricket is all about young guns. There is no place for the so-called “over-aged” players like the said triumvir. It must be mentioned here that the 3 musketeers, themselves called it quits before anybody could raise any doubt over their ability to perform in this type of “instant cricket”.
The “new look” Indian team which will participate in the September 11-24 showpiece, will also be without the names like Zahir Khan, Munaf Patil, Ramesh power. The mercurial Mahendra Singh Dhoni will lead the team with the dashing Yuvraj Singh as his deputy. Other known faces of the Indian team which will be seen in the T-20 world cup are Virendra Singh Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Kartic, Ajit Agarkar, Piyush Chawala, S.Sreesanth and Joginder Sharma. Rohit Sharma of Mumbai and Irfan’s brother Yusuf will complete the 15 member squad. As is clear from the list of the players, the Indian team will be one of the most under-prepared ones to participate in this world cup. The players had hardly any opportunity to adjust themselves in the format of T-20 cricket. More than half of the 15 member squad was busy playing test and one day cricket in England till recently, 8th September 2007 to be exact. There is a fear that these players might already be very tired and jaded as there already away from their home for over a couple of months.
Meanwhile, millions of fans of the Indian team, will be waiting with their baited breath to know how this young Indian team fares in the championship. India are slated to play Scotland [13 September] and Pakistan[14 September] in the group league stage. Pakistani captain has already aired his opinion that his team is well poised to beat India. There is a feeling that unless there is some very big upset, India and Pakistan should move to the super 8 round from there group. In all 12 teams are participating in this tournament. The teams include 10 test playing nations viz Australia, England, south Africa, West Indies, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Banladesh and Zimbabwe and two associate members Kenya and Scotland.
For some of the players of the India team, the tournament will be a great opportunity to rehabilitate themselves in the Indian test or one day squads. This is very true with test discards – Virendra Sehwag, Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh. The tournament also opens up opportunities for all rounders like Yusuf Pathan and Joginder Sharma. The Indian test and one day teams will soon be in the re-building process and Gautam Gambhir, robin Uthappa, Dinesh Kartik who are already in the Indian team, should use this T-20 world up championship to cement their places in the national squad for the bigger versions of the game.