5 things to know about India at the World T20
NEW DELHI (AP) — Five things to know about the India team at the World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh:
FLYING START: India’s title at the inaugural World T20 in South Africa in 2007 resurrected the faith of millions of fans after the team failed to get past the first round of the World Cup in the Caribbean following a shocking loss to Bangladesh. Despite that early success, India has failed to reach the semifinals at the three subsequent editions of the World T20 event. India has won 25 of 46 games with 19 losses, one tie and one no-result. In World T20s, it has won 12 of 22 games.
PLAYING IN THE SHADOWS: For all the glitz, glamor and marketing attached to the high-profile domestic IPL Twenty20 tournament, the 2007 champion has played just five internationals in the format since the last World T20 in October 2012. In fact, India will have played only one T20 game in a span of 448 days leading up to its opening game against Pakistan on March 21. That solitary game was against Australia in the western Indian city of Rajkot on Oct. 10, 2013, which India won by six wickets with two deliveries remaining.
CAPTAIN COOL: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been criticized for his team’s failure in recent tours abroad, but he’s among the most successful captain in limited-overs cricket with victories in all three ICC tournaments — winning the 2007 World T20 and, in the 50-over ODI format, the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy. Dhoni has been part of the team at all four previous World T20s and has played in 43 of India’s 46 T20 games to date — as captain all but once. The only player he has played under is Virender Sehwag, who was the captain in India’s first ever T20 match, against South Africa at Johannesburg in 2006.
KEEPING PACE: India’s pace bowling has been its weak link in recent limited-overs games, particularly in the crucial last few overs. The seam attack now faces an uphill task in Bangladesh due to its inexperience. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the only paceman in the squad to have played T20 internationals, taking seven wickets from three games. Mohammad Shami, Varun Aaron, Stuart Binny and Ishwar Pandey will get their first taste of international T20 cricket.
SINGH ON SONG: Yuvraj Singh, who smashed six sixes in a single over off England paceman Stuart Broad during the inaugural World T20 in 2007, gets a chance to regain his place in the spotlight in Bangladesh. Without him, an Indian ODI squad failed to win a game on a recent five-match series in New Zealand and also failed to reach the final of the recent Asia Cup, losing to Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Yuvraj was also India’s player of the tournament during the 2011 World Cup with timely performances with both bat and ball.