India hopes to reach top spot in rankings
India’s reputation as the World’s number two in the ICC rankings will
be under major threat when the Compaq Cup Tri Series limited overs
tournament resumes at the R. Premadasa Stadium today.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s high profile team will take on New Zealand in
their opening fixture followed by the clash against the hosts Sri Lanka
at the same venue tomorrow in back to back matches before the two top
teams meet in Monday’s final.
India of course will start as the favourites simply because of their
star studded line up which includes veteran Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul
Dravid two of the top run getters in the shorter version of the game.
However they will miss the services of injured opener Virender Sehwag
and paceman Zaheer Khan. But their coach Gary Kirsten believes that they
could rise to the top of the table in the rankings and become the
world’s best one day team.
India need to win both their preliminary round matches as well as the
final if they are to top the International Cricket Council rankings for
one day internationals. India have enjoyed a great amount of success in
their last two tours to the island and will take the field brimming with
confidence. But when it comes to a multi nation event India have
struggled a bit where they have failed to win a title for nearly eleven
years in Sri Lanka having last won the final of a major limited over
event on Lankan soil in 1998 and then shared the rain affected ICC
Champions Trophy with the hosts in 2002.
Their previous success was fashioned by openers Sachin Tendulkar and
Saurav Ganguly with both scoring centuries as they defeated the hosts
led by Arjuna Ranatunga to clinch the Singer Akai Nidahas Trophy eleven
years ago. The coincidence is that tournament too featured New Zealand.
Since then India have participated in five multi-national tournaments
excluding the abandoned Unitech Cup in 2006 but have failed to break the
summit clash jinx and have finished on the losing side to the hosts on
all other occasions.
Even then India have soon been able to gain a reputation of not being
overwhelmed by history and past records having hit a purple patch
recently with five consecutive bilateral one day international series
The most significant fact has been that three of these five recent
victories have come against New Zealand and Sri Lanka which will
certainly be an added advantage.
India not only humiliated Sri Lanka in their own backyard twice in
the last two years but also defeated the Kiwis in New Zealand earlier
India coach Kirsten said the toss will be crucial on low, slow Sri
Lankan pitches, where chasing a target under lights was not easy. In
fact New Zealand found run making really difficult on Tuesday when they
were skittle out for 119 runs in reply to Sri Lanka’s 216 for 7 in the
Even then Kirsten believes that the they need to win from any
situation if they are to be a world class side. He welcomed the reentry
of middle order batsman Rahul Dravid after nearly two years which also
augurs well for the team.
In fact Dravid is only the second batsman in the current team after
Sachin Tendulkar to have completed 10,000 runs in one-day
Gautham Gambhir ruled out:
India suffered a major blow ahead of their opening fixture of the
Compaq Cup Tri Series limited overs tournament against New Zealand when
regular opener Gautham Gambhir was ruled out with a groin injury.
Gambhir’s injury means that India will be without two of their regular
openers after Virender Sehwag had earlier pulled out with a shoulder
Gambhir’s replacement will be Virat Kohli although Dinesh Karthik is
likely to make the starting XI. Kohli who is currently attached to the
National Cricket Academy in Bangalore is expected to join the squad