World T20: Redemption time for Team India
Dhoni & Co have little to show for in the shortest format of the game since their inaugural World T20 triumph in SA and will be keen to set the record straight this time
Mirpur: In their bid to arrest the free fall in the past few months, a desperate India under Mahendra Singh Dhoni would seek redemption when they start their campaign in the ICC World T20 beginning on Sunday, while Australia and Pakistan have credentials to be labelled as strong contenders.
India have struggled to win matches in the last four months and Dhoni's men are under tremendous pressure to improve their performance. Pic/Getty Images
On current form, India, the champions of the inaugural edition of 2007 are certainly not the favourites to win the tournament. Pakistan and a well-balanced Australian side would be seriously vying for the top honours in what promises to be a captivating three-week tournament.
Defending champions West Indies would like to prove that their triumph in 2012 was no flash in pan while Sri Lanka will like to be third time lucky, having lost two finals in 2009 and 2012 respectively.
New Zealand with their new-found sensation Corey Anderson will like to end their major Trophy jinx, something that even South Africa under AB de Villiers would also be aiming for.
India last played a T20 International more than five months back and won that particular match against Australia by six wickets with Yuvraj Singh playing a blinder. Much water has flown through the Ganges since that particular match on a Rajkot shirtfront with the Indian team's performance going from bad to worse.
Different ball game
T20 is a different format but being beaten comprehensively in both Tests and ODI series in New Zealand is demoralising. Worse, they could not even qualify for the Asia Cup final losing to both Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Two and half months into 2014, India have only two international victories against minnows Bangladesh and Afghanistan, a record that would not make the team proud.
In this backdrop, India will start their World T20 campaign, a tournament where they have failed to reach the semi-finals in the last three editions played in England, West Indies and Sri Lanka.
It won't be an easy task as India will face an ever-threatening Pakistan, a formidable Australia and defending champions West Indies in their group along with a qualifier who will join after the preliminary group league matches.
A fact that should worry the Indian team is lack of preparation going into the tournament as they would have to contend with a couple of warm-up games against Sri Lanka and England on March 17 and 19 respectively.
On the other hand, Australia and South Africa played a three-match T20 series while England and West Indies also played a two-match series. India will play all their matches at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur, starting Friday.