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World T20: Wary India gear up for tough English test

Last updated on: September 22, 2012 16:01 IST

England start as favourites against India

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India's listless bowling attack will aim to put up an improved performance ahead of the Super Eights stage when the team takes on England in its final group match in the ICC World Twenty20, in Colombo, on Sunday.

Both India and England are through to the Super Eights but the contrasting manner of their respective victories certainly makes Stuart Broad and Co. favourites ahead of a clash that has gained marquee status over the years.

- World T20: Poor opening balance hurting India

While the Indian team management will be looking to plug the loopholes that appeared in the match against Afghanistan,
England, after a facile 116-run win, will look to repeat that performance against a much better team.


Image: The Indian team
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

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Zaheer's poor form a big worry for India

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The cause of concern for India across all formats has been their bowling and it is no different in Twenty20.

33-year-old Zaheer Khan, who has manfully shouldered the burden as the leader of the attack, seems to have reached the fag end of his career and is increasingly looking pedestrian.

- India's bowling woes surface ahead of World T20

It is Zaheer's poor show that has led to the entire Indian attack looking ordinary in their last few Twenty20 matches.

Add to it, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's penchant for playing only four specialist bowlers always leaves the team in a high risk zone where it is expected that the part-timers need to perform above expectations.

The Mumbai-pacer has looked totally out of sorts in the net sessions too.

Although it is too early to predict whether Zaheer will be benched considering that both Irfan Pathan and Laxmipathy
Balaji have bowled better than him, but it can be said that he is playing the shortest format on borrowed time.


Image: Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni speaks to Zaheer Khan
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

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Harbhajan might play against England

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The 22-yard strip at the R Premadasa Stadium has been of great help for the pace bowlers but the Men in Blue are more
reliant on their spinners.

The big question, however, will be whether senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh will get a chance in the playing eleven.

Knowing the perennial weakness of the English batsmen against spinners, Dhoni might just feel tempted to play the veteran, who has featured in 98 Tests and 229 ODIs.


Image: Harbhajan Singh
Photographs: Getty Images

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Sehwag, Gambhir need to fire with the bat

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The batting line-up looks more or less settled but for Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina who have been laid low with sore throat and stomach bug respectively.

In case any of the two left-handers miss out, Manoj Tiwary is expected to replace that particular player. The performances of openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir will also be closely watched as the formidable duo hasn't done anything noteworthy in recent times.

A blazing start by Sehwag will lessen the pressure on India's man of the moment Virat Kohli, who has been in dream form for the past one year.

It will be interesting to find out whether skipper Dhoni promotes himself up the order ahead of Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj
Singh.


Image: Virender Sehwag
Photographs: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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Yuvraj needs a big knock to feel comfortable

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Yuvraj's form so far hasn't been great and the left-hander certainly needs one innings of significance in order to feel comfortable.

One must not forget that it was against England that Yuvraj played one of the most memorable knock in Twenty20 cricket hitting Broad for six sixes, during the 2007 World Twenty20 in South Africa.

The England team, on the other hand, bears a much settled look and their comprehensive win against Afghanistan is a
testimony to that.


Image: Yuvraj Singh
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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England's pacers will look to unsettle Indian batsmen

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Luke Wright, who has always been considered as great potential, finally showed his mettle at the biggest stage with a fantastic unbeaten knock of 99.

That Wright can bat at No 3 -- a position held by none other than Kevin Pietersen -- and also bowls handy medium-pace gives Broad a chance to play around with his options. Apart from Wright, the likes of Craig Kieswetter, Alex Hales, Jos Butler, Jonathan Bairstow can all hit the ball a fair distance which makes this team a handful proposition in this format.

With three potent pacers -- the skipper himself, Steven Finn and Jade Dernbach -- the bowling also bears a settled look. The two specialist spinners in Graeme Swann and Samit Patel would like to show that the Indian batsmen can be kept under tight leash.

Teams:

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Ravichandran Ashwin, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Ashok Dinda, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Yuvraj Singh.

England: Stuart Broad (captain), Jonathan Bairstow, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Craig Kieswetter, Michael Lumb, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright.


Image: Luke Wright
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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