The Indian cricket team is performing pretty well, as per expectation, and reached the top of the Group B point table after defeating team Bangladesh in a thrilling match. Following the Pakistan team’s surprise win over the South African team the game is still open for the struggling Pak team but isn’t it the core characteristic of the adrenaline-kicking T20 matches?
Ishant Sharma, the right-arm Indian medium pacer with 434 combined Test, ODI, and T20 wickets in the kitty, believes Man in Blue is the top contender for the silverware. Sharma expects the tournament to be super thrilling, and the victory of team India over Pakistan in the Super 12 stage made India a hot favorite in the latest T20 World Cup betting odds.
Sharma believes, as told to sports writer Adam Drury, team India is in good shape and form and can easily end the decade-long wait for the global silverware. India-Pakistan is considered an archrival in the cricket arena, but for Sharma, as a player, it is just like any other match in terms of the way the team approaches it.
“We understand the hype around the match,” says Sharma adding, “I think what the public doesn’t see is that there is plenty of respect between the players of both teams.”
“The players gel together – they talk about cricket, and they talk about their families,” adds Sharma further.
Sharma believes the bowlers are going to be crucial in the current T20 World Cup as the grounds in Australia are really big and bouncy pitches will offer a great many opportunities for bowlers.
In absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Sharma thinks the Indian bowling squad has plenty of depth and somebody is going to have to step up and win the trophy for India.
Speaking about the suitable replacement of Bumrah, he thinks it is going to be difficult to replace him but Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh, and Mohammed Shami are a great group of fast bowlers.
On the overall shape of the Man-in-Blue squad, Sharma believes the team has played a lot of T20 matches in the build-up and the timely rotation of players helped in keeping them mentally fresh.
“The good thing is that there’s no bubble now, so the players are free to live their lives,” said Sharma, adding that Virat Kohli has been in good form recently and he is going to score good runs in the season.
On Virat’s performance, he said, “I know that he will perform exactly how the team needs him to perform” adding, “He’ll never think about individual accolades, he’s a team man, and it just depends on the kind of role that he is given.”
On the hectic cricketing schedule and bubble life, Sharma said, “bubble life was very difficult.”
“It is difficult to be mentally fresh,” he said, adding, “So if you were on a poor run, it was all you had to think about.”
Talking about the right balance of experience and energy, he said that the team India has a nice experienced core and highly energetic youngsters with plenty of T20 exposure.
Applauding the aggressive batting of Rishabh Pant in T20 matches, Sharma said, “Pant is never too afraid to play the way he plays…he won’t let the pressure get to him.”
When asked about Suryakumar Yadav, he said, “He’s very difficult to bowl to and transformed his game a bit and now he has gone from being a good player to someone who is a 360-degree player.”
On the art of selecting a few from such a vast pool of highly skilled players, he said, “I’m glad I’m not a selector, but the equation is quite simple for the players and if you don’t perform, a quality player is waiting to replace you.”
On India’s winning track record in the T20 World Cup, as India has been waiting since 2007 to lift the trophy, he said, “To be honest, I think we’ve been unlucky most of the time.”
“If you look at the last World Cup, the toss made such a big difference to results and India lost all of the first three tosses,” he added.
On chances for India in Australian conditions, Sharma believes unlike 60-7- meter boundaries of India, big boundaries of Australia offer some sort of margin of error for a bowler, so it can be easier to pick up wickets.
Sharma believes, other than India, England and Australia could be among the top contenders to lift the 2022 T20 Silverware.