T20 WC: Can Team India win the trophy this time?

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 31, 2024 IST

Team India in NY

In 2007, when a comparatively young Indian side, led by MS Dhoni, began their campaign in the first ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2007, hardly anyone imagined that the Men in Blue will lift the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup.

But India remained low key, worked hard and played as a well-knit unit and lifted the trophy. India have been into the T20 World Cup final later, but could never replicate their 2007 heroics.

This time, India are once again rated as a title favourite. This may be the last World Cup for a few Indian star players. Recently, the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 as per many cricket experts was a nice warm-up for Indian T20 World Cup players.

The IPL 2024 final was a timid affair. Kolkata Knight Riders out-performed Sunrisers Hyderabad to lift the trophy in style. The Shreyas Iyer captained outfit had all its boxes ticked perfectly well. An ideal start to a brilliant exhibition of swing and pace bowling by Mitchell Starc and Vaibhav Arora had the Hyderabad side gasping for air in the power-play itself. A tame finish to a wonderful tournament! 

The IPL was a perfect precursor to the T20 World Cup 2024 for the millions of fans and followers of Indian cricket. The question that is on the minds of each one of them is, "Is the Indian team ready to win it?"

This itself is a million-dollar question, as the uncertainty that prevails in a T20 cricket encounter makes it impossible to predict.

The Indian team heads the T20 ICC rating chart, however, the performance of not winning a major trophy for a decade or more does put a huge question mark on them. One feels that this World Cup may be the one that will end the voodoo that is attached to an Indian win. After all, one cannot keep a good side down for too long.

The IPL has been a brilliant platform for the Indian players to physically and mentally prepare for the T20 format. The game's shortest version requires a cricketer to think, play and strategise very differently. This, therefore, requires the batter and bowler to skill themselves and approach the game more aggressively and positively. Fortunately, every Indian player has had a fair amount of T20 matches under their belt and this itself augurs well in their preparation.

The Indian team has a superbly proven batting line-up and a bowling combination of both good pace and spin options. This World Cup could be the last in which several of the present Indian cricket stalwarts play. Many of them have a "Monkey on their back" and that is to prove to the cricketing world and their fans that they are far from being branded as “chokers”. One feels that the fear of failure which earlier was a heavy burden around their neck may just be put to rest this time around.

The cricketing world recognises the extraordinary talent and capabilities that the Indian side possesses. It just needs that element of luck, mental strengthening and self-belief to perform to their immense capabilities. This is where coach Rahul Dravid and his support staff play a major role.

This seems to be the last attempt for an ICC tournament win for Dravid as well and knowing his resilience and determination, he definitely will like to go with his head held high.

One feels that the Indian team is all set and ready for the fray. The niggling issues could be the form of some of their players. Each of the chosen players have, if not at present, performed admirably in the past. The wearing of the Indian colours on a World Cup stage itself brings in responsibility and pride that can never be compared. It is how this passion and patriotism can be effectively channelised that counts.

Apart from just 4 of the Indian players, all the others have played a T20 World Cup previously. Rohit Sharma, the captain, has been there from the very inception of the tournament in 2007 when India won. He was a part of that historic Indian win and for him to do so once again after 17 long years would truly be a dream come true.

There will be immense pressure on 2 of India’s superstars, Virat Kohli the batsman and Jasprit Bumrah the bowler. Both are among the best in the world in their trade and one whom every opposition would hope to see the back of. India will need them to shine as they are the destructive weapons that could single-handedly win the trophy.

For India to have two such potent individuals, is one of the reasons why India finds itself at the top of the charts.

The area in which India needs to step up is in catching and fielding. Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli are the 2 exceptions, however, India have far too many slow movers to factor in and shield. This is what could become India’s Achilles heel in their quest to win the trophy.

The T20 format needs agile and fast movers on the field and players who are confident and safe when the catch comes their way. To master it, players need to take as many catches and fielding drills as possible during the practice sessions. Watching the Indian team in their first practice session in the United States, one saw they were busy playing football and other such sports to acclimatise themselves. One feels that a fun-based fielding session would have been far more useful for them going forward. They are there, to play cricket and not to copy a Messi kick. One does not see a World Cup football side playing cricket or any other sport in the build-up to a major tournament. A World Cup is a serious affair.

There are several cricket-related games for team building as well as recreational enjoyment. Many improve one’s reflexes, agility, movement and hand and eye coordination. Similarly, improving one's thought process by simulating and learning past situations and how to combat them effectively could be far more important for them. These activities would be time well spent rather than a fruitless exercise.

One wishes that the Indian team and the wise men behind them focus on just one goal: to win and bring the trophy back for all to rejoice.

Best of luck India! (With IANS support)

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