So India apparently suck at Twenty20.
Startled by the inexplicability of the statement, I picked it up. Prodded. Examined. Dissected. Peeled off a cross-section and examined under the microscope. Made sketches. Notes.
I'm left with more questions than answers. And a firmer conviction that this ain't gonna be a pretty tour for the Indians.
Also? I think I know what the other side feels like now. Remember the 2nd final of the CB series? Where Irfan, who was bowling utter crap, was given the final over where Australia required 13 runs to win? And he went on to bowl a superb over which not only fetched him two wickets but sealed a historically monumental win for India?
And this time around?
Irfan was bowling beautifully, 12 runs required to win off the last over, only 4 runs from the first 4 balls, and then?
The Brendon of McCullum hits two consecutive fours off the last two balls and New Zealand win and I die.
Reminds you of a lot of the Great Escapes that India has managed to pull off over the last year, yes? (The greatest of them being the World Twenty20 final, which was, ow. Unbelievable.)
Now I grit my teeth as I read people like Iain O'Brien go "It's wonderful to have beaten the world champions", (yeah, champ, why don't you have a cookie now) and the NZ newspapers go, "omg India is in such great form, they are clearly the favourites", and at this point I'm seriously wishing for them to tell us how crappy India really are, Aussie-style, because that never fails to rile the Men in (now a terrible shade of) Blue up and inspire them into spectacular performances.
Only tthree things console me now:
1. India've always been crappy starters on overseas tours, and going into this one with zero NZ experience, zero practice matches, a two week layoff after the SL tour where they vacationed, partied, and constantly had people telling them how great they were? Yeah, for them to be hitting the ground running would've expecting too much. Also, the performance in the second Twenty20 was a marked improvement from the first. I'm expecting better and better performances in the ODIs and Tests.
2. India, world Twenty20 champions, national team of the home of the IPL, chock-full of cricketing superstars, losing to hardworking, efficient and understated New Zealand? Hopefully it's enough of a slap in the face to shake off the last dregs of complacency and over-confidence.
(And also, Dhoni? Please to be shaking off your rustiness. It be painful to watch.)
((And who asked you not to play domestic cricket in the interim between SL and NZ, huh, HUH? Sheesh. ))
3. Remember South Africa's immensely successful tour of Australia recently? One of their few major blips was losing both their Twenty20s comprehensively to the Aussies. But they comfortably took both the ODI and Test series, and no prizes for guessing which was the happier team at the end of the tour. So, India? Hint there, hello!
Watching the team lose is a much harder pill to swallow now than before. What have you done to me, team?
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