India pummelled England and then Australia in the warm-up games and are now all set to begin their ICC World T20 campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday. Team India won the inaugural World T20 title in 2007, under Mahendra Singh Dhoni‘s leadership. This edition meanwhile will be the T2OI captaincy swansong for current skipper Virat Kohli.
Can Kohli, who has a junior ICC title to his name (ICC Under-19 World Cup win in 2008), win his maiden senior ICC trophy? Can the Indian run-machine become the second Indian captain to take India to the T20 World Cup title?
Former India all-rounder and 2007 and 2011 World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh feels the Indian squad is looking balanced and strong and the team has a good chance of adding a second World T20 trophy to their decorated cabinet.
Yuvraj spoke to TimesofIndia.com in July this year.
“It is not only about the captain; the whole team needs to perform. Then only you can win the title. I feel India has a great T20 side but the T20 format is very unpredictable. One session of five overs can take away the game,” Yuvraj told TimesofIndia.com.
Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya (Image credit: AP/ICC)
“I feel Team India has the same depth as Mumbai Indians. They have 5,6,7 and 8 as allrounders. The left-right combinations. Hardik, Krunal, Pollard are there. They have depth in their batting. They have allrounders. We do have a side like that. If you look at Jadeja, Hardik, and Rishabh, we have a strong side. New guys are also coming in. We have a strong batting lineup. We have all-rounders. We have a strong batting lineup till number 8 and we have a mix of extra bowlers,” the 39 year old further said.
One crucial aspect of this World Cup is that it is being played in the UAE, where the pitches are generally slower and do assist spin. In that context, sub continental teams might have the upper hand over other opposition. Any team with quality spinners and a variety of them should feel rather confident about themselves.
Virat Kohli (Image credit: AP/ICC)
“I feel we (India) have a very good chance. The UAE wickets can get slow in the second half. So, spinners come in very handy. So, we have a really good, balanced side ,” Yuvraj, who was part of the Dhoni-led 2007 T20 World Cup-winning team and scored 148 runs in 6 matches at an average of 29.60, further told TimesofIndia.com.
SIX SIXES – THE MAYHEM AGAINST BROAD
Yuvraj Singh is hands down one of the biggest match winners Indian cricket has ever produced. He played multiple unforgettable knocks in his career. But the one thing that he will forever be synonymous with will be hitting 6 sixes in an over-off England pacer Stuart Broad.
During the 2007 T20 World Cup, Yuvraj took Broad to the cleaners in the 19th over of the Indian innings, whacking him for 6 sixes and taking India’s total past the 200-run mark. India defeated England by 18 runs in that game.
Image credit: BCCI
“We just smile at each other (when they meet). The good thing was that the monkey was off my back because two weeks before that match, I got hit for five sixes in an ODI match vs England. I had bowled the 50th over. Getting hit for five sixes and then hitting sixes was a big relief doing against the same country (England). The monkey was off my back and it is obviously one of the greatest memories,” Yuvraj, who scored over 11,000 runs and took 148 wickets in international cricket across all formats told TimesofIndia.com.
“I realised the importance of that memory over the years because every time September 19 comes, people start celebrating that moment. It is one of the historic moments of my career and I will always cherish that,” Yuvraj, who played 40 Tests, 304 ODIs, and 58 T20Is between 2000 and 2019, signed off.