June 25, 2009

All the best to the Indian Cricket Team!

The India vs West Indies ODI series begins tomorrow and I just cannot wait to see the Indian team in action again. Although there is no Zaheer, Sachin, Sehwag and even Irfan, it certainly is THE strongest team in ODIs.

The thing I am most excited about is the performance of the new players. Abhishek Nayar is a very exciting prospect as seen in my favourite IPL team Mumbai Indians. His almost-match-winning innings in the humdinger against Rajasthan Royals with that extra-cover six off Johan Botha is still fresh in memory (his dismissal the very next ball also is!). Ravindra Jadeja has till now been seen only in T20 - it will be interesting to see how he plays the ODIs. He is more valuable as a bowler and fielder than a batsman and Dhoni will keep that in mind always after that disastrous innings against England in the World T20! Pragyan Ojha is one of the best spinners in form, and along with Harbhajan Singh, the duo can be a handful. In fact, Harbhajan Singh is one of the best middle-over bowlers in ODIs.

The players who have been in the team for quite some time need to pull up their socks. Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni need to get their act together in batting - Yuvraj seems to have sleepy body language while Dhoni needs to look more for the boundaries - simply trying to increase one's batting average to be counted among the best is a folly for the team. I am not saying that he is not a team player - it is just that he must bat better than what he is now and not many will disagree with me on that. Gautam Gambhir is surprisingly in bad form (after all, he is a human!). Right since the IPL, he does not seem to be timing the ball well. The ODI format will serve him right to get back in form. Rohit Sharma's lazy elegance has deserted him as of now but he is a class player and will bounce back.

You may say that the Indian team is not the best team right now, keeping in mind the World T20. But, writing off a team for just 2 losses on 2 bad days would be a folly. India WILL shine in WI and win the ODI series. In spite of the renewed confidence of the WI team, I feel that WI will not be up to the task (Gayle likes ONLY T20 anyway and so does the team and the nation). Their bowling will be taken apart and their batting, though promising, may just win them a match at most.

So, here's wishing WI all the best, and India all the matches!

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