Weather again in Yuvraj's way
Chennai, Sep 10: The weatherman expects thundershowers to lash the city in the next 24 hours and that might further delay Yuvraj Singh's return to international cricket in the second Twenty20 international against New Zealand here Tuesday after heavy rains washed out the first at Vizag Saturday.
The huge hype around Yuvraj's return was in full play ahead of the first game at Y.S.R. Reddy ACA-VDCA Stadium Saturday and it has been carried into the southern metropolis with the same fervour.
Yuvraj is certain to play here and he should grab the opportunity as there will be no international cricket for him before the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka from Sep 18-Oct 7. He played three warm-up games at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and hoped to play the two T20s against New Zealand and two more practice matches before going to Colombo to be match-fit.
India's T20 squad has three more comeback men -- Harbhajan Singh, leggie Piyush Chawla and medium-pacer Laxmipathy Balaji, all returning after varying periods of lay-off. It is to be seen if anyone of them can force his way into the playing eleven considering the requirements and vacancies in the team.
Tuesday's is India's last match to make the necessary fine tuning to the team before the World Cup.
Batting remains India's strongest suit in the subcontinent with the likes of Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni himself capable of tearing apart most bowling attacks in the world. A good performance by all-rounder Irfan Pathan will certainly help the team's cause, especially with the bowlers being under constant pressure in the shortest format.
New Zealand clearly struggled against the Indian spinners in the Test series but have their best chance to arrest their losing streak in the T20 format.
They will take heart from the fact that they have won all three T20 games they have played against the Indians. Another reason to feel confident would be the return of their most experience players, former captain and left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori, who sat out the Tests owing to a groin injury, all-rounder Jacob Oram and fast bowler Kyle Mills.
The Black Caps's batting in the slam-bang version of the game looks potent with Indian Premier League regulars Brendon McCullum, James Franklin and skipper Ross Taylor having experience of playing on the sub-continental wickets.
India: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, M.S. Dhoni (captain), Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashok Dinda, Piyush Chawla, Laxmipathy Balaji, Manoj Tiwary.
New Zealand: Rob Nicol, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor (captain), Kane Williamson, James Franklin, Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori, Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Ronnie Hira, Adam Milne, BJ Watling, Doug Bracewell.
Umpires: Sundaram Ravi and Vineet Anil Kulkarni. TV umpire: Sudhir AsnaniMatch Referee: Chris Broad© IANS
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