Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Defending champions Australia is hosting the high-voltage T20 World Cup 2022 this time. Though the tournament has an open look about it, the defending champions will be definitely the favourites as they know the home conditions like the back of their hands.

As neighbours, New Zealand will also be among the favourites. Considering the large grounds Down the Under, the Kiwis have a fine spin bowling and fielding unit. Meanwhile, South Africa and England also have the skill sets and physicality that the shorter version of the game demands.

As far as India is concerned, their hopes will definitely rest on their batting prowess. The Men in Blue only look formidable in this department. Besides skipper Rohit Sharma’s six hitting abilities, India has also got Suryakumar Yadav with his 360-degree wherewithal. In his present form, ‘SKY’ is the limit seems to be apt for the whirlwind batter. Virat Kohli too has hit back his form by ending his century drought in the recently concluded Asia Cup. All-rounder Hardik Pandya has also proved himself off late that he is a utility batter in the lower middle order. With great bat speed he gets the elevation and his batting skill gives the much needed acceleration to the scoring rate during the slog overs.
India has also come a long way and got rid of the mental blockage to play in the fast and bouncy Australian pitches. The Men in Blue have the record of winning seven out of 12 T20 games Down the Under.

However, bowling remains a worry for Team India. They have already suffered for it in the recently-concluded Asia Cup and T20 series against Australia and South Africa. India’s problem in the department has further compounded with experienced pacer Jasprit Bumrah’s exclusion from the World Cup squad due to injury.

However, large grounds in Australia have given some hope to the Indian bowlers. As per senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin , it will give the license to the bowlers to work on variations like flighting the deliveries and using the slow bouncers effectively.

India has also lost a modern all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja due to injury. Apart from his effective bowling and electric fielding, the utility all-rounder was giving the much needed balance to the team by batting aggressively lower down the order. Besides Pandya, the onus will now be on Axar Patel and Deepak Hooda to deliver.

As far as fielding is concerned, India’s standard has gone below par in the recent times and the fielding coach should be really concerned about it. In the recently-concluded Asia Cup and the series against Australia, India has already suffered a lot because of their poor fielding.

As per former coach Ravi Shastri, with the absence of Jadeja, there is no X-factor in the team and it puts extra pressure on the batsmen to score those extra 20 and 30 runs in every match. In modern day games, catches often win matches, but the slippery fingers of many youngsters are a matter of concern for the team think tank.

With a legend like coach Rahul Dravid at the helm of the affairs, die-hard fans are hopeful that ‘The Wall’ could only inspire the Indian team to prevent the collapse during the crucial moments of the mega event.