India, Dec. 20 -- England will be up against a different India side in the shortest format of the game, and it will be a team with fresh legs. India's batting in T20 is in the safe hands of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Gautam Gambhir and, of course, MS Dhoni. The India captain is a class act in this version.
It will be interesting to see what opening combination Dhoni settles for. Will it be Ajinkya Rahane with Gambhir or Gambhir with Kohli, in order to accommodate the established batters in the middle order?
Kohli has opened for India in this format, and he should be on top of his confidence after the tremendous hundred in Nagpur in difficult conditions. Raina, Yuvraj, Rohit and Dhoni will lend stability to that middle order.
The new ball should be shared between Dinda and Awana, as Balaji and Vinay Kumar are sidelined due to injury and Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma have not been considered.
It will also be interesting to see the spin-bowling combination. Jadeja and Ashwin should be the natural choice with Raina, Rohit and Kohli playing the support role. But will Dhoni decide to play Chawla to unsettle England with leg spin?
England also have a new team and a lot of fresh legs.
They have a new captain in the big-hitting Eoin Morgan, who should be full of enthusiasm to push the young lads. They will go into the match with the belief that if India can be beaten at home in Tests, then why not in T-20. But believing and delivering are two different things and it will not be easy.
The pitch at Pune was not the best of surfaces to bat on when we last played the IPL. I hope the curator has worked on it and given it a new character.
The writer is a former India captain
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Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.