New Delhi: India are among the favourites to win the upcoming World Twenty championship at home, but former India opener Gautam Gambhir cautioned that the hosts will have to be at their best in order to clinch the title.
At the WorldT20 which starts on Tuesday, India are placed in a difficult group along with Australia, New Zealand and arch-rivals Pakistan. Gambhir, who was speaking at a conclave organised by a prominent news channel on Monday, asserted that New Zealand and South Africa can create a sensation at the tournament although the critics are not paying too much attention to the Kiwis at the moment.
“The T20 format is very difficult to predict. I cannot say for certain that India will reach the semi-finals because in this format, there is very little scope to recover once you make a mistake. It all depends on which team plays better on that day, controls their nerves better. Of the five teams in the group, only two will reach the semis,” Gambhir said.
“We have not played against New Zealand for a long time. Australia are always tough to play against. They can defeat any team in any condition on any given day. We have to play well even to reach the top four,” he added.
The 34-year-old however, dismissed the notion that the Indians will be under more pressure than the other teams since they are the hosts.
“The other teams will face the same kind of pressure as India. It is not that we will face more pressure since we are the hosts,” the talented left-hander asserted.
The Indian team got a major boost ahead of their World T20 campaign by winning the Asia Cup, thrashing hosts Bangladesh in the final on Sunday. Gambhir pointed out that the Indian team is a settled unit at the moment having won ten of their last twelve T20 games and lauded the coaching staff for playing two spinners in every match despite the fact that the conditions were more favourable for the fast bowlers.
“It is always good if your confidence is high ahead of a tournament. If you are winning, your thinking is clearer and you can execute your plans better. The way the team is playing lately, they are looking settled. We did not have to make too many changes in the team lately and its good because this same XI will play in the World T20,” the Delhi lad said.
“The team management has done a good job by persisting with two spinners in all the matches at the Asia Cup although the conditions were not too favourable for spin bowling. It was a correct decision because when you return to India for the World T20, you have no option but to depend on your spinners. So if we play the same spin combination which we played in the last 10-12 matches at the World T20, we will have better chances of success.”
Gambhir also felt that it will be crucial for India to have Yuvraj Singh in good form.