The Indian team will be playing its first match in the upcoming ICC World T20 2014 against Pakistan on March 21. India has always been considered a favorite to win the tournament except for 2007, when the tournament was held for the first time. Incidentally, during that tournament India was not regarded very highly but won the championship nonetheless, thus earning itself the distinction of being the first ever T20 World Champion. Since then, in spite of its high standing, the sub-continental team has never repeated its 2007 heroics. The question is will 2014 be any different from the previous editions?
Group: India has been classed in the same group as West Indies, the world champions and the best team in this format, Pakistan, Australia and either one of Ireland or Zimbabwe depending on who qualifies from the qualifier Group A.
Batting: With the return of MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh the team has more experience and, perhaps class, compared to the team that was unsuccessful at the recently concluded Asia Cup. Kohli and Rahane, who have been in decent form of late, will be key components of the line-up. However, the team will look for handy contributions up the order from Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. The selection of Stuart Binny remains a mystery though considering how his international career has shaped up so far.
Bowling: The seam bowling looks to be decent with the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. Varun Aaron has the pace, while Mohit Sharma offers control and variety that is needed on the slow and low pitches of Bangladesh. However, India’s strength really is its spin bowling – Jadeja and Ashwin lead this department and are also capable of contributing runs with the bat. Amit Mishra can also be expected to play an important role.
Possible first team: Dhawan, Rohit, Kohli, Raina, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar, Amit Mishra/Mohit Sharma (depending on the pitch), Shami.
Predictions: India has what it takes to win the tournament in terms of players. They have lots of experience having participated in the Indian Premier League, which is touted as the best of its kind in the world. The conditions will also suit them and yet another factor that would be working in their favor is the fact that they played the Asia Cup a few days back. This would have given them first-hand knowledge of the conditions.
Problems: One of the major problems of the team is unidimensional leadership of MS Dhoni. He is averse to experimenting with his line-up and generally prefers to field first. This clearly betrays a lack of trust in his bowlers. The problem is that other teams understand that and plan their strategies according to that. India needs to come out of this sphere if it wants to be on the podium when the World T20 ends.