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  • India v England, 1st T20I, Pune

Scarred India fight their demons for T20 series

The Preview by Devashish Fuloria
December 19, 2012

Match facts

India would hope for change in fortunes with the change in format © Getty Images
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December 20, 2012
Start time 1900

Big Picture

Only three days ago, the two teams were part of a draining battle in the Test series in which things went from bad to worse for India while England rose in confidence and three days later, they are ready to take on each other for a couple of Twenty20s. The switch can be numbing.

For India, it is a strange situation. First, they fell in their own trap in the Tests and now they need to find the motivation to come out of the slump and play positive cricket. It doesn't help that the nucleus of their T20 squad is still the same as the Test side. MS Dhoni, whose leadership has been under fire, needs to arrest the slide and switch gears for a format, which appears suited to the Indian team - hard-hitting batsmen, restrictive bowlers and a wait-and-watch style of captaincy. The reality, though, is that India haven't really dominated on the international level even in T20s.

Unlike India, England's T20 side bears a completely different look. The architects of the series win are already back in England for Christmas, but they have left a scarred Indian team for their T20 generation to feast upon. Most in the side, captained by Eoin Morgan, have been in India for some time now and would have spent time getting used to the spinning conditions. So on paper, England have again been methodical in their preparations. That doesn't directly translate to success - if pitches take spin, the young side could again appear like rabbit in headlights. But it points to one clear difference between the two sides - one fighting their demons, the other ignoring theirs.

Form guide

(Most recent first)
India WWLWW
England LWLLW

In the spotlight

Yuvraj Singh may have flopped in the Tests, but he remains a dangerous limited-overs player. His inclusion in the T20 squad three months back appeared driven by emotions, but since then, Yuvraj has spent a considerable amount of time in the middle. He has scored a couple of hundreds at the first-class level and although he appeared inept in the Tests, he would prefer England's new-look bowling attack to stamp his authority.

Eoin Morgan has been a regular in England's limited-overs sides and in Stuart Broad's absence, he has been awarded with the captaincy. Morgan, one of England's best players against spin, will not only be the lynchpin in the middle order, he will have the responsibility of mentoring the inexperienced players. His IPL experience will come in handy for England to draw up plans against the Indian players.

Team news

Ten of the 15 players in India's squad also took part in the Test series. Ambati Rayudu, who replaced the injured Manoj Tiwary, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are the two new additions apart from the regulars but could find it hard to make it to the XI. Parwinder Awana could make his international debut after L Balaji and Vinay Kumar were withdrawn from the squad due to injuries.

India: (likely) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 Suresh Raina, 7 MS Dhoni (capt), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Piyush Chawla, 10 Ashok Dinda, 11 Parwinder Awana

England lost Stuart Broad to a heel injury and was replaced by the Middlesex seamer James Harris. However, he is unlikely to make it to the XI with Tim Bresnan, Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker ahead of him. Joe Root, who was not part of the original T20 squad, could find a place after his impressive showing in the Nagpur Test.

England (likely) 1 Alex Hales, 2 Michael Lumb/Joe Root, 3 Luke Wright, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Jos Buttler, 6 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 7 Samit Patel, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 James Tredwell, 10 Jade Dernbach, 11 Stuart Meaker

Stats and trivia

  • This will be the first international match at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune.
  • England have played 53 T20Is to India's 41. Their win-loss record is 27-23, which is similar to India's 22-17.
  • The two teams have met each other only five times, with England winning three. MS Dhoni is the only player to have played in all five matches.
  • Of the players in the two teams, Jade Dernbach has the most wickets in T20Is - 18.

Quotes

"It's a completely different format. I don't think there is anything carrying forward from the Test series."
MS Dhoni

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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