ICC World Twenty20: Can’t remember another world cricket event as open as this one

So who is going to win it? I don’t know, I am just going to enjoy the cricket, writes Harsha Bhogle.

On paper, India's batting line-up is as good as any, especially with Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli firing (AP) On paper, India's batting line-up is as good as any, especially with Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli firing (AP)
Written by Harsha Bhogle | Updated: March 21, 2014 3:59 pm

I’m often asked who I think will win the ICC World T20 and I think my answer is the same as that any cricket lover can give. “I don’t know and I can’t tell”. Realistically, any of the six teams can win it, a seventh is a very strong dark horse and the eighth, well it depends on whether they believe they can! I don’t remember being to any world event that is as open as this. It is great news for the youngest form of our sport and, since finance occupies a major part, it is excellent for the networks and advertisers.

The good news is that it is great for the fans too. In the six and a half years since the first World T20 was held (yes that makes it five in that much time!), the game has evolved, skills have improved and since they only need to be on display for at most forty five minutes, teams are much closer than ever before.

India and Australia have probably the best batting line-ups in the tournament and it will be interesting to see if India start briskly. Like the old cars when we were growing up, India tend to take time to hit top speed and that is indicative of a slightly defensive mindset. When you play seven quality batsmen (Jadeja is one in this form), you would like to give two the license to go for it early. I am certain Australia will do that with Warner and Finch but I would like to see India do so with Dhawan and Raina at number three. Yes, it would mean Kohli opens the batting and I do believe he is tailor-made to play that role.

This is also a better fielding side than some others, though it is interesting that the batsmen field far better than the bowlers. It is something that demands attention another day for you would believe the bowlers would be better athletes. Or maybe it is because the batsman need to be really quick over 20 yards and that helps. But India’s problem is not merely how the bowlers field but, rather more worryingly, how they bowl. On the evidence so far, three spinners and two seamers seems the way to go, though the choice of bowlers for the last four overs will occupy Dhoni’s mind more than anything else.

Going against tradition

It is for that reason that not many would be tempted to put India among the top favourites. Yes, the pitches would favour India but the dew is already emerging as a strong counter to teams that are banking on spin bowling. I won’t be surprised if teams reverse the traditional order of bowling and get the …continued »

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