|Scorecard:||India v England|
|Event:||England in India 2012/13|
DateLine: 20th December 2012
India v England
1st T20I 2012
As the cloud of dust begins to slowly settle around England's historic test victory against the Indians, they are left little time to bask in the celebrations before being thrust hurriedly into the opposite format of the game which starts tomorrow at 14:30 GMT. With two T20 Internationals scheduled before the five-match one day series taking place in the New Year, sides will have to adjust quickly and strike accurately, as this series will be over in the blink of an eye. The sides will definitely look different to the ones sported in the test series.
The Indians will look to put the test series loss behind them but after 28 years of denying England on the subcontinent, it's bound to smart. MS Dhoni stated that the loss in the 2007 World Cup was the lowest point in his career, but a whitewash in England and Australia followed by a loss on home soil to one of the bigger nations in world cricket resonates with higher magnitude to me. India are in a tricky situation, similar to the position the Australians found themselves a few years back. A couple of important retirements and difficult decisions regarding aging players may result in some inconsistent performances, with youngsters pushed into the spotlight and asked to take responsibility. These things happen; it is the natural ebb and flow of the game over generations. It's how you react to these situations that defines your side.
Indian team has been under scanner after regular failures in test cricket and not so impressive performances in limited over cricket after 2011 World Cup. It is high time now for team India to pull up their socks before they start losing T20 and ODI series at home. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni never saw such a dip in his captaincy record and he has faced a lot of criticism lately. He silenced his critics with a 99 runs innings at Nagpur but he couldn't anchor India to a win. Similarly many other big names like Sachin, Zaheer, Gambhir have been criticized for bad form.
The Indian T20 set-up has already suffered a couple of setbacks. Manoj Tiwary, who has been in scintillating form in the Ranji Trophy, has picked up a side strain and will be replaced by Ambati Rayudu. India are also missing Sehwag, who has been axed from the T20 set-up in favour of younger blood. Tendulkar will miss the T20s as can be expected and Lakshmipathy Balaji has also picked up an injury and has been replaced by Vinay Kumar. It is likely that Gambhir and Rahane will open, followed by a middle-order consisting of Kohli, Raina, Yuvraj, Rohit Sharma or Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni. In terms of pace, India has Awana, Dinda, Vinay Kumar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to choose from. The spin option will be handled by Ravi Ashwin, with the possibility of Piyush Chawla, though the Indians have part-time spinners in abundance.
The England team showed the kind of resolve in the test series that took them to the top of test rankings not too long ago. After struggling throughout 2012 against spin, particularly on the subcontinent, they bounced back better and more emphatically than anybody could have expected. They were outclassed by a large margin in the first test but did not panic. Instead they adapted and improved and came away with the spoils. This victory, by and large, was built on the back of England's fledgling test captain, Alistair Cook. The time was clearly right for Cook to take over and although in the final test he didn't get many runs, England showed the one characteristic that made them so dangerous not twelve months ago; others stood up and took responsibility.
England will be missing their T20 captain Stuart Broad through injury, as he continues to suffer with his heel. Eoin Morgan has been appointed to take over the captaincy for the two-match series and it will be interesting to see how it affects his play. He is the type of batsman that scores with reckless abandon in the middle-order and one wonders if the burden of captaincy will see him become slightly more circumspect. Steven Finn is also sidelined, meaning England's seam attack is made up of Tim Bresnan, Jade Dernbach, Stuart Meaker and newbie James Harris. Greame Swann and Kevin Pietersen have also been rested and three members of the team management, including Andy Flower, will be returning home. It seems as though England are not ascribing much importance to these T20s and it's somewhat of a mystery exactly what side they will field on Thursday.
Finally the Subrata Roy Sahara stadium at Pune will get an opportunity to host their first ever International cricket match. It has been a home ground for IPL team Pune Warriors and crowd out there will love to watch an International match here as well.
Indian fans may have been disappointed with team's performance in the longer version of cricket. But hopefully team performs better in T20 cricket matches to rejoice the fans with some better cricketing moments that stay alive in our memories forever.
Indian Squad: MS Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin, Parvinder Awana, Piyush Chawla, Ashok Dinda, Gautam Gambhir, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Manoj Tiwary, Vinay Kumar
England Squad: Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Alex Hales, James Harris, Michael Lumb, Stuart Meaker, Samit Patel, Joe Root, James Tredwell, Luke Wright, Stuart Broad
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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