India start their campaign with warm-up matches against Sri Lanka and England. Warm-up matches are a key to the start of the tournament and this will help Dhoni to get the boys going mentally.
These matches are even more important when one goes overseas but none the less, it should provide an opportunity for the young team to get the confidence back which has been slightly dented with the recent performances. India should put their mind back to the Champions Trophy last year when they won all the warm-up games prior to the start and looked a different team in the competition.
Confidence is such a magic thing in sport that it can make an ordinary player look good and a great like the masses. As much as I understand that the results here will not have a bearing to the World Cup, but it might just do wonders to the team.
It will also provide an opportunity for Dhoni to find a different way in playing the T-20 format. Since its first edition, the Indians have not qualified and they are a much better team than that. Their batting in these conditions is a powerpacked one and if they get going, they will be a hard side to beat.
I think it is also time Dhoni takes a hard look at himself in this format. It is hard to believe that with his match-winning ability, he does not have a fifty in this format. This is more because of the position he bats in and has limited his role to a finisher. He must also realise that even for good teams, which India is, it’s important to play differently at times and maybe he can get that surprise element going in this tournament.
He must also realise that his bowling is a bit weak and maybe he has to cover it up with the batting and runs on the board. It’s an important tournament for Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina as well. They are both strong players in this format and their inclusion is an added strength to the side.
For me, India’s worrying area is their bowling. I know there will always be a case of an extra spinner in sub-continent conditions but Dhoni will have to get cover for the first and last five overs which has hurt India the most. It’s important
that he gets the likes of Mohammad Shami and Varun Aaron going and get them to understand the importance of their role in the death overs.
Bhubaneswar Kumar has been very good with the new ball but at times, his lack of pace with the old ball has made the Indian bowling very vulnerable under pressure. Hopefully, the management will think about this aspect and get a cover for him, especially on flat wickets.
— The author is a former Indian skipper