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Fearsome threesome: Kohli, Rohit and Raina can be a threat at WT20

Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina can be a real threat to India's World T20 opponents just like David Miller, Glenn Maxwell and George Bailey were for Kings XI in IPL-7, writes Aakash Chopra

Momentum is intangible, but its effect is tough to ignore. Once you have it on your side, things start falling in place. And that's the feeling I got with this Indian team in the just-concluded three-match T20 series. It's not often that a tour of Australia has two completely unconnected halves. If you start losing in Australia, it's almost impossible to regroup and recover.

India's senior batsman Virat Kohli on fire during the recent limited overs series against Australia at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on January 20. Pic/Getty Images
India's senior batsman Virat Kohli on fire during the recent limited overs series against Australia at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on January 20. Pic/Getty Images

Therefore, not many expected India to bounce back the way they did after getting hammered in the ODI series. The fact that Australia didn't play their first XI and made too many changes in every game, helped India's chances but to undermine India's performance would be unfair. These three T20s have got the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together and now, India are fairly close to knowing what their ideal T20 XI should be.

Setting the tone
T20 cricket needs only three batsmen in top form and the rest can bat around them. Once the three are scoring heavily and at a fair clip, the rest can bat with a lot of freedom. That's how Kings XI managed a podium finish in IPL-7. Miller, Maxwell and Bailey were the main protagonists who either set or chased big totals. I'm getting a similar feeling from this Indian team in which Rohit, Kohli and Raina are likely to set the tone for the rest.

Rohit Sharma (left) and Suresh Raina
Rohit Sharma (left) and Suresh Raina

All of them have form on their side, have the ability to hit the big shots and once set, have the tendency to finish off games. If they manage to keep their form intact for the next two months, India will have a fair chance of repeating the heroics of 2007.

Batsmen win matches; bowlers win tournaments. While batting is India's stronger suit, it'll be naive to believe that they can win the World T20 on their own. The bowlers will have to start contributing but, unfortunately, that's likely to happen only if the pitches are of their liking.

The Indian bowling needs either something from the pitch or the pressure from the scoreboard to take control of the match. Therefore, India must insist on preparing slightly spin-friendly pitches and that shouldn't be tough to prepare at the end of a long home season.

Once the ball starts turning after pitching, the spin trio of Ashwin, Jadeja and Harbhajan will be too hot to handle. Also, that would allow the two part-timers in Yuvraj and Raina to come into their own. But it's not just about the spin and that's where these three T20s have contributed immensely. The comeback of Nehra and the rise of Bumrah have given Indians a much-needed boost.

The road ahead
The fixtures committee deserves a pat on the back for arranging lots of T20 matches leading up to the World T20. Earlier, the most common grouse was that Indian players were match-winners for their respective franchises but somehow, couldn't click together as a team. T20 demands a clear demarcation of roles and that can happen only if the same unit plays together enough, which didn't happen often in the past.

Now, with lots of T20 matches in February, there is an opportunity to not just allow people to cement their places and identify their roles but also, to get people back in form.

Going ahead, it is imperative for Dhoni to find ways to make Yuvraj bat higher up and getting Pandya a decent hit. You don't want a situation where people are slightly undercooked going into a world tourney. Here's hoping Dhoni has another World Cup left in him.

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