Indian cricket team after a long break is up for some action as they will take on Sri Lanka in a five-match one-day series starting on Saturday at Hambantota. The series which will feature the two finalists from the World Cup 2011 is more important to the visitors than the hosts.
It is not that the series does not hold any importance to the ‘Lankan Tigers’ as they would want to be in good momentum and good shape going into the T20 World Cup and beating India, which is one of the strong contenders for lifting the title, will give them a huge boost. But for India this series holds much more importance as what happened to Indian cricket after the World Cup win is worrisome. Indian have had three back-to-back disastrous tours and they will be looking to kick-start the season on a positive note. Indian team failed to win a single limited over match in England and failed to qualify for the finals in the following one-day series in Australia and Bangladesh.
Indian captain MS Dhoni has said that it is the start of a new season and there are some areas on which the Indian team have to improve. He also said that the series will help them assess the team and to test how much the team has improved from the time they played their last international match.
Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why the World Champions will be desperate to win the series:
India need a solid start to the new season: India have faced embarrassing times in the recent past. From being the World Champions and No. 1 Test team, they became a side which failed to perform in three consecutive series. The coming season is very important for India as they will face some stern competition in the later part of the year and a good start can do wonders to the their confidence.
World No 1 spot up for grabs: India go into its five-match series in Sri Lanka with the chance to leap from its current fourth place standing to its previous number one ranking in the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings. India last held the number one position briefly in September 2009 but if it achieve a clean sweep against the hosts, MS Dhoni’s side will unseat current table-toppers Australia.
Series win will be a huge moral boost ahead of T20 World Cup: The T20 World Cup is just round the corner and it will be played in the same conditions. This series provides a perfect training ground ahead of the T20 World Cup and the Indian team will be looking to capitalize on the opportunity. Going into the World Cup with a positive mindset can really help India and this series can provide India exactly that.
Putting an end to the turmoil in the team: There have been lots of controversies that have surrounded Indian cricket off-late, and surprisingly the controversies are about the dispute inside the team. This problem is rare in Indian cricket and the present team will be looking to put an end to it by winning the series convincingly. No one cares what happens in the team as long as the team is winning and Indian players know that better.
Getting the bowling combination right: The team picked for this series is more-or-less the team that will represent India in the future series. The biggest problem for India is their bowling department as apart from Zaheer Khan, no bowler is a permanent face in the squad. India should now decide the bowlers they want to have in the team in future and should groom them accordingly. It is a problem that the team can’t avoid anymore and this series will provide ample opportunity for the skipper to test his bowling options.
By Gaurav Jha
Indian Sports News Network