Majority of the Indians are day-dreaming about ‘Men-In-Blue’ hoisting tri-color on 2nd of April in Wankhede. Must confess, the expectations are NOT without any reasoning but we Indians, sometimes really goes overboard and ignore the loopholes that might prove hazardous in a competitive tournament like World Cup. Lesson, it seems, is not learnt from the last edition.
More often than not, our weakness lies in our ultimate strength. If few recent heartbreaks are any indication then, Indian famed batting line-up crumbles under pressure; remember, starting from Quarter Finals, WC games would not be short of pressure-cooker situations. Other bone of contention is again our biggest strength: Our top 3, arguably the best in the business. The trio of Sachin, Sehwag and Gambhir are the lynchpin of Indian batting and lot would depend on them for raising big totals or while chasing huge scores. But what we are ignoring is the fact that these three batters are coming off minor/major injuries and might take some time to get in the groove. Sooner the better for India sake.
Fast bowling is another area of concern for Dhoni’s team. While Zaheer Khan is in peak of his career, same could not be said for his partners-in-crime. Munaaf and Nehra, not only need to take care of their fragile frames but also need to catch the consistency-bug as-soon-as-possible. Their inconsistency is caused by the same virus: If their opening spell is good, they make sure that the subsequent ones would jeopardize the good work done, or vice versa. Their sole-alternative Sreeshanth needs to curb his un-wanted aggro and channelize the same to some match-winning performances. On flat Indian pitches, his line-and-length would also be in a scrutiny. One major weakness that plagues all the Indian pacers is their inability to bowl yorkers which in turn fails to contain the sloggers at the fag-end of the innings.
Inexperienced and out-of-form middle order is something Gary and Dhoni needs to address immediately. Yuvi and Raina are soon becoming liabilities than assets; Kohli needs to sneak-in somewhere at no.3 or 4, his selection is not straight-forward though. Yusuf is the trump card for Dhoni; even if he fires in couple of matches, India would cruise imperiously and ICC’s budget for extra-balls would be swollen for sure. But there are too many IF’s and very less of certainities, which is enough for cynics to pop their heads out and shake them as negative-nods.
Last but not the least, contrary to all ‘home-advantage’ beliefs, Team India failed to live upto the expectations in ’87 and ’96. Whether it would be third time lucky for us? The answer is hidden in the womb of future and like everybody else, I am waiting it to be unearthed.
Author is a hardcore cricket fan who takes pride in induliging himself in all the cricketing talks. He’s often blamed by his family members, of eating, drinking and sleeping cricket which ‘practically’ never is the case. He has a keen eye and picks the nuances of the game with ridiculous ease. He is more of a Cricketriot (Cricket + Patriot) and stays in two extremes; goes ga-ga over Men-in-Blue when they do click and never shy of tearing them apart after every abysmal performance.
He would be more than happy to share a healthy discussion with the readers throughout the World Cup.