Senior opener Virender Sehwag’s finger injury and a suitable bowling combination are two major concerns for India ahead of their opening Super Eight Game against Australia in the ongoing ICC World Twenty20.
The swashbuckling opener, who was hit on the knuckles while batting in the nets prior to England game, didn’t bat during the three-hour net session today.
Although the extent of the injury is not known but Irfan Pathan padding up before everyone does raise doubts about Sehwag’s availability.
According to sources in the team, the senior batsman is fine and was only rested so that it doesn’t aggravate his injury before the Australia game.
The other worrying factor is the bowling combination that will be deployed against the mighty Aussies.
The five-bowler theory worked wonders for India during their 90-run victory over England but Mahendra Singh Dhoni, with his fetish for playing seven batsmen, might as well revert back to his tried, tested and much-debated formula.
Harbhajan Singh’s brilliant performance against England has helped him seal his spot in the playing XI for India’s opening Super Eight fixture against Australia on September 28.
The Turbanator’s presence has always intimidated Australians and it is unlikely that he will be left out against a batting line-up that has top quality left-handers like David Warner, Mike Hussey.
Harbhajan though didn’t bowl at the nets today is likely to bowl during the next two days. While Ravichandran Ashwin is certain to make a comeback in the playing XI in place of Ashok Dinda, the main question remains about the fate of an out-of-form Zaheer Khan.
Having been rested for the England game, the veteran seamer is completely looking out of place in the T20 set-up.
Although he bowled for an hour at the nets, Zaheer looked gingerly.
His batting has deteriorated considerably and he has been a liability in the field of late. If Zaheer plays, then for the cushion, Dhoni might decide to play five bowlers.
In case Zaheer finds a place in the four-bowler set-up, then Lakshmipathy Balaji might find himself out of the playing XI as Irfan is a certainty in the side for his all-round abilities.
On the day, dope tests conducted on Harbhajan, Ashwin and Sehwag during the practice session.
According to team manager R.N Baba, this was a “routine procedure” and the players were picked randomly as is the case with each and every training session during an ICC tournament.