World Twenty20 - India and the incumbency factor

Dusty Gibbs, 2008 Queen of the Tournament of R...
In cricket the West Indies and the Australians are the only teams to have beat the odds and won World Cups in succession. Now the Indian team has a similar opportunity in the 2009 edition of the Twenty20 World Cup. Can they beat the incumbency factor and the burden of expectations?

Back in 2007, the Indian team was just a bunch of eager beavers who unexpectedly won the World Cup. Sachin, Dravid and Ganguly opted to rest thus giving the selectors an opportunity to not only name a new captain but also to name a team of young studs eager to play the field.

No doubt, these newcomers could make their mark but leave enough room for the ‘resting’ mainstays of Indian cricket to reclaim their rightful place. The 2007 World Cup team was in a holding pattern.

The impression that the Indian team was sent to make the numbers was enhanced by the fact they had an acting coach- Lalchand Rajput and a bowling and a fielding coach with no proper contract.

Surprisingly, for a young team and stopgap support staff, they were prepared. The first match where they beat Pakistan through a ‘bowl out’ exemplified their preparedness. The Pakistan captain revealing that they had no clue about the ‘bowl out’ illuminated this.

Dhoni inculcated some street smartness in the team. There was some surprise performances too. Rohit Sharma and Gautam Gambhir provided the impetus. Yuvraj was at his best; Joginder Sharma was the pick among the bowlers with Sreesanth adding the edge. Thus, the Indian Twenty20 surprised everybody and won the World Cup.

However, in 2009, things are different. They are the favourites and the team to beat. Dhoni appears to have lost the freshness of thought that made him the captain with a Midas touch.

The team members have also seen their fortunes dip and revive in the interval. Some like Gambhir, Raina, Rohit and Yusuf have enhanced their reputations. Yuvraj and Dhoni are struggling to regain their batting flair. The team has an abundance of bits and pieces players who could prove a burden.

The problem with these bits and pieces players is the fact that they are mostly spinners. As the World Cup is in England, there is a doubt whether they will be as handy as medium pacers.

The second edition of the IPL in a sense has been a blessing to the Indian team for obvious reasons. However, it may well turn out to be a curse.

There were a whole lot of foreign coaches who were a part of the IPL teams. Similarly national team captains, like Smith of South Africa, Collingwood of England, Sangakkara of Sri Lanka and Daniel Vettori of New Zealand who were a part of the IPL jamboree will have learnt what will work and what will not work in Twenty20. Damningly, they also had the opportunity to study many of the Indian players at close quarters.

So is the Indian team at a disadvantage?

Not so, but they will have to prepare thoroughly and perform mightily to overcome these factors. Dhoni should come out of his set ways and shed his preference for 11 players. Instead, he should trust the whole squad of 15 and give them the opportunity they deserve.

Can the Indian team beat the incumbency factor and win the World Cup?

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Anonymous Stani Army said...

Successive Cup wins in this form is going to be more difficult Ott. Come the knock out stages, one bad day and any defending champion will be out. We're gonna see lots of different winners of this cup.

01/06/2009, 07:03  
Blogger lviss said...


01/06/2009, 07:13  
Blogger Ottayan said...


I agree with you. IPL has clearly shown us that. However, the format of the T20 WC tournament gives room for such thoughts.

01/06/2009, 07:57  
Blogger Ottayan said...


I have mentioned the same. I worry whether these spinners could be of use.

However, the fact that this tournament is to be played only on 3 grounds may bring the spinners into the picture in the later part of the tournament.

01/06/2009, 07:58  
Anonymous Stani Army said...

Yes Ott, I agree with the format point. I think that's disappointing though. Bigger teams should not be given any advantages at all.

Spinners will be vital guys!!! They're much more difficult to hit cleanly (turn) and a long distance (slow pace of ball).

If I was batting in a t20, I would rather face a pacer than a spinner.

01/06/2009, 08:37  
Blogger Ottayan said...


If I am not mistaken this is just the start of the season -hence the pitches are more likely to be fresh. As it is in England they will be damp and play low.

That is why I have my doubts about the spinners coming to the fore.

I strongly believe that it is going to be the medium pacers like Abdulla of South Africa will be devastating.

01/06/2009, 11:43  
Blogger straight point said...

on contrary i think the spinner will be of great help dampness will make ball grip and low bounce will help them difficult to get rid of coz batsmen will not be able to come under the ball to send ball for dlf maximums...err is ipl over...? ;-)

01/06/2009, 12:05  
Blogger Ottayan said...


dlf maximums? Wake up!:)

That is one way to look at it. My fear is that Rohit and Raina are just part timers and I doubt whether they have the guile to use the conditions.

01/06/2009, 12:09  
Blogger Q said...

I think India has as good a chance as any.. but I tend to agree with Stani.. we may see many different T20 champions unlike ODIs...

01/06/2009, 15:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

India will be the champions. Period :D

01/06/2009, 16:41  
Blogger Ottayan said...


Lets hope it happens in the next edition.:)

01/06/2009, 16:55  
Blogger Ottayan said...



01/06/2009, 16:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

trouble with your feeds, heck why ?
do u change it frequently ?

01/06/2009, 19:03  
Blogger lviss said...


01/06/2009, 20:09  
Blogger Ottayan said...

Sorry about that. The fact is I lost my url and hence necessitated the change to my old one.

Hope you have updated to my latest feed.

02/06/2009, 08:28  
Blogger Ottayan said...


Let us hope they do.

02/06/2009, 08:28  

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