It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
Many brickbats were raised after the mediocre performance of Team India against Afghanistan in their opening match of the ICC World T20 game. Then came the news of Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan, two of the most senior and experienced match winners of the format, being rested for the crucial game against England.
But if you thought the game was a lost cause, you clearly underestimated the Indian team’s ability to confound you. Even with an attack that lacked bite and batsmen who failed to inspire much confidence, England received their biggest drubbing in T20s ever. Yes, it was even worse than Stuart Board being punched for six sixes by Yuvraj Singh. And the wrecker in chief this time was his fellow Singhman Harbhajan.
The off spinner, who has not been in the greatest of form, suddenly struck gold in his comeback match and made the most of his return from exile by picking up four wickets against the England batsmen. His figures of 4-2-12-4 will remain unchallenged for a fair amount of time but the question to be asked is whether Harbhajan just got lucky. Many cricket analysts have waxed eloquent on Harbhajan from calling him enfant terrible just a few days ago. Joyour fans, who were worried about the team’s sub-par score of 170 runs batting first on a fast wicket suddenly credited Sourav Ganguly’s unshakeable faith in Harbhajan as proof of the latter’s comeuppance. And just to reinfornce it all, the spinner also walked away with the Man of the Match award, a rare occasion where a bowler is feted for his contribution to T20.
While it is conjecture to comment on what Harbhajan’s return means for the team, there is the fact that the team can use Harbhajan’s confidence and put it to good use in the tournament ahead. It definitely augurs well that along with Piyush Mishra, Harbhajan can attack batsmen with spin rather than defend.
The other surprise of the day was Rohit Sharma. The butt of all jokes for returning to the pavilion quicker than the time it takes to cook Maggi noodles, Rohit, for once did not disappoint. After the quick exit of Irfan Pathan and the fall of Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir for 40 and 45 respectively, there was hardly any hope from Rohit, who has found form in patches.
However, the batsman stayed cool and calm to build a good solid innings of 55 not out. Some of the shots he played, especially the cut over the wicket-keeper’s head off Stuart Broad, definitely gave cericket lovers glimpses of the talent Rohit possesses. It was only because of his efforts that the team got to 170 in the end. Rohit has been chided for his lack of concentration at the crease and frittering away his wicket too cheaply. Whether yesterday’s innings marks a turning point or was just a fluke will soon be known.
The emergence of Harbhajan and Rohit now means that the team is finely poised to regain the World T20 Cup with most players peaking at the right time. Captain M S Dhoni though, will have to take his rotation policy into account. While his ‘vision’ at resting Zaheer Khan and Virender Sehwag will now be lauded because of the team’s spectacular win, it is important to recognise that Zaheer, too, is on the comeback trail and needs as many matches as possible to get into his groove. Virender Sehwag could also do with somem uch needed match practice so that he is confident of his big-hitting ways when the time comes.
If all these factors are taken into account, then there is not reason why India cannot win the Cup once again on October 7.
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