Mirpur: Their already low morale further dented, a listless India would be desperate for a win when they take on England in their second and final warm-up game in the ICC World Twenty20 Championships in Mirpur on Wednesday.
India will be playing their first group league match against Pakistan on Friday and a win against England is a necessity considering the team’s continuing poor run. The Indians went down by five runs in the opening warm-up match against Sri Lanka on Monday.
Although they didn’t set the stage on fire, the two comeback men Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh had a decent outing with the bat yesterday, which makes their case even stronger.
Yuvraj scored 33 and Raina contributed 41 in a losing cause but both were out after they had got set. That both can also roll their arms over on this slow track at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium makes young batsman
Ajinkya Rahane’s case a bit weaker. By getting out for nought having misread the flight of a Sachitra Senanayeke delivery, Rahane has done himself no good. The batsmen who automatically select themselves are Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina.
While Raina batted at No 3 against Sri Lanka on Monday, it was done with an aim of giving skipper’s trusted lieutenant a chance to settle down and play more deliveries since Kohli’s place is settled in the side.
Yuvraj is a player who has got four man-of-the-match awards in India’s last five official T20 internationals. The only place Rahane fits in is at the top of the order where both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have been struggling of late.
Rahane has also successfully opened for Rajasthan Royals in the last two seasons of the Indian Premier League. It won’t be surprising therefore if one among Rohit or Dhawan is dropped in order to accommodate Rahane.
There remains a possibility of Dhawan making way for Rahane as Dhoni has backed Rohit in times which were even worse than this. Rohit had a long streak of single digit scores but the skipper always showed enormous faith in his talent and abilities.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will be the two main spinners in the side. Both being handy bowling all-rounders, they are much ahead in the pecking order than Amit Mishra, who has not done too badly in the limited opportunities that he has got.
Mohammed Shami is inarguably India’s number one pacer currently and Varun Aaron looks better suited than Bhuvneshwar Kumar to become the second pacer of the side. Bhuvneshwar’s 17 runs in the final over against Sri Lanka proved to be decisive in the final context of the match.
The young UP seamer is certainly under pressure as the wickets have dried up and the swing which made him such a lethal weapon in skipper Dhoni’s armoury is long gone.
While he was an unknown entity in the first season, the teams over passage of time in the last 12 months have started analysing his bowling. His lack of pace also makes him vulnerable in this format. Mohit Sharma was the only player in the 15-member squad who was not fielded in the first warm-up game.
He is certain to get a chance against England but it will be very difficult for him to break into the playing XI right away even if he performs well.
Another interesting aspect will be to watch skipper Dhoni bat in a match situation after recovering from side strain. Prior to the practice match against Sri Lanka, Dhoni didn’t bat in the nets. During the match, he kept wickets as the team doesn’t have an option but he didn’t come out to bat.
Even if it’s a strategy, a defeat only dents the confidence and this Indian team has tasted more of it in recent times. England, on the other hand, will be fighting a jet-lag having taken a long flight from Barbados to Dhaka.
Skipper Stuart Broad is suffering from a dodgy knee while the team is not exactly rich in overall international experience save a few like Luke Wright, Ravi Bopara and Eoin Morgan to support Broad.
But they have a few explosive players including Alex Hales, who briefly held the number one rank in the ICC list for the T20 batsmen before Brendon McCullum snatched it from him.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Suresh Raina, Mohammad Shami, Mohit Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh.
England: Stuart Broad (captain), Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Michael Lumb, Moeen Ali, Eoin Morgan, Stephen Parry, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Luke Wright.