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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

India plays Sri Lanka in solitary T20 at Pallekele today

One cannot be blamed for not following the India Sri Lanka Series when Olympics  is taking place..

After the ODI series, which India won comfortably at 4-1, India and Lanka play a solitary Twenty20 match at Pallekele. This will be India's last T20 before the final squad for the World T20 is announced (the deadline is August 18).  India have played just one Twenty20 international in Sri Lanka, in 2009, which they won. The teams have played T20s against each other on four occasions; their last game was more than two years ago. After three losses in a row this trip, Sri Lanka have one final shot at consolation.

Earlier, it was to be a 3 Test Series but later teams decided in favour of 5 one dayers and one T20.  With the T20 World Cup beckoning, is this the right strategy adopted by BCCI ?  Among Test teams other than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, India have played the least T20 internationals - 34. Pakistan have played 55, leading the list. Sri Lanka have played 40.  Does India bank on its IPL experience alone for the T20 is the moot point !!!

As you would know, the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 will be the fourth ICC World Twenty20 competition – and this is to be hosted by Sri Lanka , between September 18 and October 7, 2012.  Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga has been chosen as the event ambassador of the tournament by ICC.

The last 3 were held in  South Africa, England and the West Indies respectively. The format will see four groups of three in preliminary round. India and England are in the same group and will be joined by the runner up of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier; Afghanistan.

In the inaugural T20 WC, India won the title in 2007.  The second event in 2009  was won by Pakistan and the third in 2010 at West Indies was won by England, who defeated Australia by 7 wickets in the final at Kensington Oval, Barbados. This was the first ever ICC tournament won by England.

Some IPL heroes have never shone outside – the classic example being Rohit Sharma, who was described as oodles of talent.  In a match, when Rohit and Virat Kohli were on TV, Gavaskar commented – ‘you are looking at the future of India’.  Virat has done enough to rise to that – Rohit given no. of opportunities has failed time and again.  In the present series, he got 5 – all went abegging – at the cost of Manot Tiwary who made 21 and 65 in the two ODIs he's played on this tour. He ran well between wickets, was especially strong through the leg side,  scored at a healthy pace and took 4 surprise wickets in a match. He was below par in the IPL, averaging 26 and finishing as the fourth-highest run-getter for the Kolkata Knight Riders, but he hit the winning runs that sealed the title in a tight chase.

For today’s match Virender Sehwag who missed the final ODI due to a glute problem is no available as he  has returned to India. Zaheer Khan has also headed back, to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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