India have a challenging calendar ahead, with two daunting tours of England and Australia which could give skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (extreme left), the 15 men who can defend the World Cup in the Australasian continent © Getty Images
Sri Lanka’s success in Bangladesh in the run-up to the ICC World T20 2014 cannot go unnoticed. R Vishal feels Indians could emulate the same with their preparations for the ICC World Cup 2015 in Australia-New Zealand.
For two whole months, Sri Lanka camped, worked out the conditions and churned a formula to win matches in the shorter formats. Sri Lanka’s historic ICC World T20 2014 win against India simply showed a team who calculated the conditions meticulously.
With the evening games posing big questions to bowlers gripping the ball, Sri Lanka had enough experience in a country where they touched down in early January; played two Tests, three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and two Twenty 20 Internationals (T20Is) and won the Asia Cup 2014 in style. In the two months, Sri Lanka’s only blemish was the loss against England — a match won solely on the sheer brilliance of Alex Hales.
India’s outing in Bangladesh for the Asia Cup and T20 World Cup was good too. The losses against Pakistan and Sri Lanka were close games, which fell from their grasp solely because of individual brilliance. Some may argue it was a certain player being off-colour on the day of the final where India lost the final. Sri Lanka acclimatising to conditions in Bangladesh had a significant say in things perhaps.
India have a challenging calendar ahead, with two daunting tours of England and Australia which could give skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the 15 men who can defend the World Cup in the Australasian continent.
While England’s conditions poses the challenge of the top-order batsmen facing seam and swing, the Australian gravy train with Mitchell Johnson and co is sure to be the most formidable challenge for the fledgling Team India players.
The schedule reads that India would be playing a bilateral ODI series and four Test matches and the tour finishes weeks before the start of the ICC World Cup 2015. The possibilities of India going on as smooth and effective run as the Sri Lankans have had in the past couple of months are laughable at the moment.
The Men in Blue have done well in limited-overs against Australia in the recent past and can certainly build their confidence and importantly, given the team management have ample time to pick their best eleven. The New Zealand tour in the winter was truly a cricketing lesson and screamed a need to go back to the drawing board. The team management look settled on a line-up at the moment while the middle-order remains a work-in-progress.
With less than 10 months left for India to kick-off their title defence, the Australia tour can do what the long stay in Bangladesh did to Sri Lanka. There are plenty of strategies that goes behind the ODIs and finding out the right bowlers, shoring up the middle-order and checking out the spinners’ consistency, which can go a long way for India, entering the tournament with a settled order.
(R Vishal is a journalist and alumni of the Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)