New Delhi: Like every other team, India would have also liked to have condition-specific preparations for the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia but the packed international calendar does not allow them to have that advantage. Instead, they will have to be tactically smarter and use their experience to the fullest to achieve the desired result.
In the last one decade or so, cricket has peaked in terms of globalisation with mushrooming of leagues across the globe. However, Australia still is very different from other countries in terms of playing conditions.
When teams travel to Australia in October-November for the T20 World Cup, they are expected to get few noticeable things there. Bigger grounds, lesser grip for spinners, truer bounce for pacers, more horizontal shots for batters and change in par scores are the specific things which teams will have to take care of.
A lot of non-Indian players, especially T20 stars get to play in the Big Bash League, so they are already aware about the different playing conditions in Australia. But, since Indian players are not allowed to take part in foreign leagues and they play only in the IPL (apart from domestic tournaments, like the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy), the conditions can surprise a few of them during the World Cup.
India, who are currently playing in Zimbabwe, will next play the Asia Cup beginning on August 27, followed by home series against Australia and South Africa in September and October that include a total of six T20Is and three ODIs, ending on October 11.
Given their busy schedule, the Rohit Sharma-led team can’t have a preparatory camp in Australia before the T20 World Cup. In such a situation, India will have to make the best use of two practice games that the International Cricket Council (ICC) offers before they begin their campaign against Pakistan on October 23 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the Super 12 fixture of the mega event.
But, all is not lost for India, who have many serious match-winners and experienced campaigners in the side. A lot of the players have played in Australia before so they will certainly know what worked for them in the past.
Apart from experience, captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid will also have to be at their strategic best. They could study the conditions in Australia this summer during the Big Bash League and international fixtures and understand the specific skills required to succeed.
In terms of data and analysis, they will look at all the games that have been played in Australia in the last few years and also the Big Bash par scores. This information could prove to be valuable in terms of team selection. Supposedly, they can play an extra wrist spinner or an extra seamer, can use a left-hander at the top in the batting to counter rivals using specific match-ups.
In short, they will have to be one step ahead of their rivals, because unlike bilateral series, the T20 World Cups don’t give a chance to make comebacks.
India’s brilliant recent record in Australia in Test cricket and white-ball series will also give them the confidence to do well and bring that long-awaited T20 World Cup trophy home.