Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014

ICC World Twenty20: Last chance for strugglers to make a mark

Yuvraj Singh has struggled in his two outings in the ICC World Twenty20 so far (PTI) Yuvraj Singh has struggled in his two outings in the ICC World Twenty20 so far. (PTI)
Written by Ankit Sinha | New Delhi | Posted: March 30, 2014 3:49 pm | Updated: April 23, 2014 2:25 am

When the ICC World T20 2014 began, not many people were counting India among the favorites to win the tournament. However, their remarkable performances against Pakistan, West Indies and Bangladesh seems to have rekindled fans’ faith in the team. Friday’s win against Bangladesh catapulted them to the top of Group 2 and also secured them the coveted semi-final berth. India’s game against Australia might not be worrying Mahendra Singh Dhoni much, but it would offer a great opportunity to the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Yuvraj Singh to find much-needed form in the tournament. On the other hand, George Bailey would expect his under-fire team to salvage some pride before the team makes a shameful exit from the tournament.

The under-performers

Dhawan’s moustache isn’t twirling anymoreIndia may have found good momentum in the ongoing T20 world cup, but opener Shikhar Dhawan’s form has been a cause of worry. It is commonly said that T20 cricket is too short a format to judge a batsman in just 3-4 innings – batsmen always look to score quickly, and in doing so, tend to throw away their wickets with a rash shot. However, the curious case of Shikhar Dhawan goes beyond the normative judgement.

Dhawan’s short stay at the crease during India’s match against Bangladesh on Friday exposed a few chinks in his armour – his feet weren’t moving properly, his head wasn’t straight enough and he was merely trying to go for the big shots without assessing the deliveries properly. The result? He ended up edging an Al-Amin delivery onto the stumps. On his day, Dhawan would have easily flicked the same delivery on the leg-side without much ado. The flamboyant opener, who burst out in international cricket with a majestic 187 against Australia last year, is apparently struggling with his batting technique and Dhoni would expect him to fire in the remaining matches in the tournament. Fans are waiting with baited breath to see the trademark mustache twirl once again.

Yuvraj, a pale shadow of his former self: Yuvraj Singh’s name was forever etched in the annals of T20 cricket’s nascent history when he smashed Stuart Broad for six sixes in the inaugral edition of T20 World Cup. Almost seven years later, Yuvraj Singh is but a pale shadow of his former self. Since his highly anticipated comeback in the Indian team last year, Yuvraj has had a disappointing run, much to the fans chagrin. His brief innings in the first two games against Pakistan and West Indies were unlike what the Punjab southpaw is capable of doing with the bat. Very rarely has Yuvraj looked so tense and docile in his 14-year-old career.

Also renowned for his athletic fielding and impeccable catching abilities, Yuvraj’s efforts in the outfield have been below par in the tournament thus far. His dropped catches in the first two games drew him some flak continued…

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