Pre-tournament planning key to India’s favourites tag

Never before in any of the earlier five editions has India played as many T20 internationals as it has ahead of the 2016 edition. In fact, the last couple of years have seen a tremendous shift towards T20 internationals from the authorities of Indian cricket.

A whopping 16 games have been played since India’s loss to Sri Lanka in the final of the 2014 World Twenty20, inlcuding the 3-0 whitewash in Australia.   -  AP

That the World T20 is being staged on its home soil is touted as the main reason for >India entering the marquee tournament as favourites. However, home advantage isn’t the only reason for India carrying the tag going into the tournament. More importantly, this will be the first time India will enter a World T20 edition on the back of proper planning towards the season.

Never before in any of the earlier five editions has India played as many T20 internationals as it has ahead of the 2016 edition. In fact, the last couple of years have seen a tremendous shift towards T20 internationals from the authorities of Indian cricket.

T20 plethora

Of the 68 T20Is India has featured in, 28 have been fixtures in World T20s. Of the remaining 40 T20Is ‘Men in Blue’ have featured in, a whopping 16 games have been played since India’s loss to Sri Lanka in the final of the 2014 World Twenty20.

In fact, in the last couple of months, India has featured in 11 T20Is, which has helped the management try out new or recalled talent and sort out of the best possible combination that could do the job over the next three weeks.

The fact that cricket administrators in India decided to tweak domestic schedule in order to suit the team’s international calendar since 2014 has helped the selectors in identifying short-format specialists. Youngsters such as Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah were called up on the back of following up on impressive IPL performances with exceptional outings in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Similarly, veterans like Ashish Nehra and Yuvraj Singh also proved their worth to clear all the doubts about their recall into the side.

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That has made India appear like a well-oiled unit, with a perfect blend of youth and experience. Opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan had no qualms in admitting the pre-tournament build-up as key to India’s billing.

“We have got depth in our side – batting and bowling, like we have got a very good all-rounder Hardik who is performing, who just came in the side and has been performing from the (word) go, that is a big positive and we have got experience now in our side. Their presence makes a huge difference for all the youngsters and of course their experience comes in handy,” Dhawan said after India’s last warm-up game, against South Africa at the Wankhede stadium on Saturday night.

“Because of all these reasons, I feel that’s why everyone is rating us the best and we guys have been winning consistently, and from those wins we are getting a lot of confidence and we are building our confidence game by game.”

It will be interesting to see if the preparations culminate in reaping dividends, come April 3.

India’s record in T20







Played

Won

Lost

Before 2007 WT20

1

1

0

Between 2007 and 2009 WT20

5

2

3

Between 2009 and 2010 WT20

2

1

1

Between 2010 and 2012 WT20

11

6

5

Between 2012 and 2014 WT20

5

3

2

After the end of 2014 WT20

16

11

5