Turners should help India

Team India will hope to regain the trophy this time around as all the members have been playing a lot of T-20 cricket and if the first couple of games are any indication, the squad is on the right course. Besides, the sluggish pitches where the ball has tended to grip the surface will be a distinct advantage for the Indians as they have enough spinning options to exploit the conditions.

It is time for the batsmen to “beat the ball maan” as the locals would say with the T-20 World Cup getting underway in the West Indies. The excitement has already started with the crowds coming in better numbers at St. Lucia than was the case during the ICC World Cup in 2007 in West Indies. The ICC has learnt from its mistake it made in 2007 and lifted the ban on musical instruments and drums in the stadium. The lifting of the ban has given the T-20 World Cup the Caribbean flavour what with the locals coming in with their drums and providing great entertainment as well as getting entertained by the teams.

The Indians have qualified for the super eight with comprehensive performances in the initial stage and the highlight of their passage has been the century of Suresh Raina. He relishes the T-20 format and takes to it as a duck takes to water and his whirlwind hundred has re-established the fact that Team India's fortunes depend on Raina's success to a large extent. The youngster has been a consistent performer for CSK in the IPL but he needed to carry his form into international cricket and his effort against South Africa not only paved the way for India to win, but also would have given him the confidence to take on the best of bowlers in world cricket. His mediocre effort in the last T-20 World Cup will be a thing of the past post that century and one can hope to see Raina spiral upwards from here on.

Team India will hope to regain the trophy this time around as all the members have been playing a lot of T-20 cricket and if the first couple of games are any indication, the squad is on the right course. Besides, the sluggish pitches where the ball has tended to grip the surface will be a distinct advantage for the Indians as they have enough spinning options to exploit the conditions.

The likes of Pathan, Jadeja and Chawla will relish bowling on the present day Caribbean pitches and this particular aspect will make the Sub-Continent teams very formidable. The Sri Lankans will need to pick up the pieces and get back on the winning track and the presence of a relatively lesser side in each group will more or less ensure that the leading Test playing nations will figure in the super league.

The defending champions Pakistan suffered a beating from Australia, but they have prevailed over Bangladesh to keep them in the hunt. The result would have affected the morale of the team but then they have the habit of making things difficult for themselves with their unpredictability.

There have been quite a few issues between the players and the PCB in the recent past and as a result Pakistan have to get to the final stages if they have any hopes of getting their concerns resolved. Moreover, they have not played international cricket for sometime and fatigue is one excuse they cannot take shelter under if things go wrong. They can also take heart from the fact that their passage has never been smooth on all earlier occasions when they went on to win the title.

If at all there will be one team desperate to win this year, it will be Australia as they somehow have not been able to crack the code in the T-20 format. They ruled the roost until a couple of seasons ago in all other formats and they will be keen to win the T-20 title, which has been eluding them. Ironically, some of the Aussie cricketers have been leading performers for their respective franchisees in the IPL, but collectively they have not been able to pull if off. I am not suggesting anything sinister, but their lack of success only goes to show that there is nothing predictable in the T-20 version. Their facile victory against Pakistan should, however, give them the fillip.

The Kiwis and the South Africans will always pose a threat as both teams have enough players in their ranks who are multi-dimensional. But then, it will depend on how quickly they can think on their feet regardless of the all-round strength. It will be easy sometimes for teams like South Africa and New Zealand to leave things until it is too late and then get into a muddle. We saw that happen with South Africa against India and hopefully Smith's men will have learnt the lessons from that game. After all, it will be in the interest of the public that all teams are on top of their game to keep the excitement going and one cannot ask for more if the game happens to be the winner in the end.