How prepared is India for the Men's T20 World Cup challenge?
India will be heading into the Men's T20 World Cup in Australia with some comprehensive preparation behind them.
New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) India will be heading into the Men's T20 World Cup in Australia with some comprehensive preparation behind them.
Since June, they have played T20Is against South Africa (drawn 2-2 at home), Ireland (won 2-0 away), England (won 2-1 away), West Indies (won 4-1 away), Asia Cup (Super four finish) and more recently, the home series against Australia and South Africa won by an identical margin of 2-1.
But the main challenge lies in adapting to the pace and bounce of the pitches in Australia. The pitches in Australia are the fastest in the cricketing world and that means, bowlers who have high pace and consistently hit short-pitched deliveries will be very impactful in the T20 World Cup apart from wrist-spinners getting more purchase than finger spinners.
Keeping all of this in mind, the plan for the Indian team to set up a camp in Perth to adjust to pace and bounce available in Australia is very logical.
"We will get an opportunity to spend a few days and sessions in Perth and then have a couple of matches there. Australia is quite unique in terms of the pace and bounce on those wickets and a lot of our players have not played a lot of T20 cricket in Australia," head coach Rahul Dravid had said in the post-match press conference after India lost third T20I by 49 runs to South Africa in Indore.
From the main squad, Harshal Patel and Deepak Hooda had toured Australia but as members of India U19 side in 2009 and 2013 respectively, while Suryakumar Yadav, Axar Patel and Arshdeep Singh haven't had the experience of playing competitive cricket in the country.
"The idea was to give ourselves a chance to practice a little bit more, get acclimatised (to the conditions) and get some game time in to practice. Having been to Australia before (in his playing days), it takes some time to get used to that pace and bounce and hopefully once we practice, we would be able to have discussions around the sessions, strategies and tactics of how we need to play.
"It is important (to go early) as we get little bit of extra time and have got quite a young squad which have a lot of people who have not played a lot of cricket in Australia. So hopefully that should help us," added Dravid.
The same reasons were echoed by captain Rohit Sharma on departing early for Australia and being based in Perth for a week, where they also played two practice matches against Western Australia XI at the WACA Stadium, especially with cricket not being played much during the months of October and November in the country.
Speaking in Australia, Rohit said: "Lot of the guys haven't been to Australia. That's was the reason we are going there early and get used to the conditions there, which is why we are first going to Perth, try and play on those bouncy pitches and see what we can do there.
"Out of the 15 squad members, only seven or eight members have been to Australia before, so half of the squad has not been there before.
"We wanted to make the effort to go in early and get some practice games. We have played a couple of practice games against Western Australia, plus there are the two ICC practice games. So, that will help us get into our rhythm, what sort of combinations we can play."
In both of India's practice matches against Western Australia XI at WACA, they got to bat first and chase as well, with a win and loss coming out as a final result. Suryakumar carried forward his stellar form with a fifty while KL Rahul too got a patient half-century.
In terms of bowlers, Arshdeep Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin had three-fers against their name. The pacers got some sharp bounce in the practice matches while the spinners had some turn too.
Though one won't go much deep into the results from practice matches, India have got their planning for the preparations well. Now time is ripe for that to be translated into results during the T20 World Cup.
News BY IANS (Indo-Asian News Service)
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