A new-look India starts its journey to the 2011 World Cup - just over nine months away - as they take on Zimbabwe in the tri-series opener today.
India’s lacklustre show at the World Twenty20 left the selectors and the board looking for answers. While MS Dhoni, India’s captain in all three formats of the game, has been rested, much emphasis will now be on Suresh Raina, appointed captain in Dhoni’s absence, who would want to carry his 2010 World Twenty20 form into Zimbabwe.
The hosts, despite having spent such a long time on the international circuit, are still hoping for improvement. They beat Australia and Pakistan in their World Twenty20 warm-ups and will want to go into the series with high confidence.
Problems on both sides have been similar: lack of application by the batsmen. While India boasts a much stronger side on paper, Zimbabwe’s care-free approach that has contributed to their downfall often, may well be backed to spring up a few surprises. With the self-enforced absence from Test cricket allowing players to adjust to the shorter format, this, like India, is Zimbabwe’s first step towards making 2011 World Cup in the sub-continent count.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 28th, 2010.