India hope to get past Scotland with ease

India look ahead to the start of their ICC World Twenty20 campaign against Scotland at Kingsmead in Durban on Thursday.

updated: September 13, 2007 15:51 IST
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India look ahead to the start of their ICC World Twenty20 campaign.

India were in a confident mood on Wednesday ahead of their ICC World Twenty20 opener against Scotland at Kingsmead in Durban on Thursday.

However, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni cautioned against writing off the unfancied Scots and looking too far ahead to the Indians' clash against old rival Pakistan on September 14th.

India have had an extra day to recuperate, following their one-day series defeat to England in the UK on Saturday, and while they have been touching up their preparations, Group D opponents Pakistan and Scotland were getting into the swing of things on Wednesday.

The Pakistanis and the Scots were facing each other - the favourites eventually completing a 51-run victory over the Scots - whilst the Indians gathered for the final time in practice, before opening their account against Scotland on Thursday.

India will also be without veterans Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, leading to suggestions that this could be the start of a new era for Indian cricket.

Indian captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni said: "You have to prepare new guys, new breed of cricketers, who will play in their places, who will fill in their places. I don't think we have the replacements of Sachin, Sourav and Rahul, but at some point of time, maybe now, maybe five years down the line."

"So, you have to make cricketers, who will fill in their spaces. I think this is the right kind of thing. The guys who are playing well at the domestic circuit and first-class level, they will get to get exposed and they'll get to know how and what international cricket is," he added.

India will be expected to get past Scotland with some ease and they'd be forgiven for having one eye on their big Group D clash with rivals Pakistan on Friday.

Both Asian countries have much to prove to their die-hard fans, after both suffered humiliating early exits at the World Cup in the West Indies a few months ago.

With that in mind, Dhoni knows the importance of taking one game at a time. He added: "Well, its better off to forget what we did or what happened, you know, during the last World Cup and, of course, both the teams, we didn't do very well in the World Cup."

"So, both the teams will be under some kind of a pressure, you know, some kind of added pressure. But, as I said, the important game is the Scotland game, followed by the Pakistan game. So, definitely, it will be a good game of cricket, but still some time to go before that," the ace stumper added.

As with all the teams, the Indians will have to refine their game to suit the rather unique needs of Twenty20 cricket.

They are also mindful of the fact that the shorter form of the game allows the smaller, less-fancied teams a better chance of springing an upset.

With that in mind, they've done their homework on Scotland. Dhoni further added: "In Twenty20 any batsman or any bowler who has a good day can have a big impact on the game. Its not like a one-day international or test cricket."

"Of course, playing one game against them will definitely help. We know what their players do, what their strong points are and what their bowling attack. We have some videos of their team and that will definitely help us," he further added.

India will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of New Zealand and Pakistan, who both got off to winning starts in Durban on Wednesday, with victories over Kenya and Scotland respectively.

With a powerful line-up that could include the likes of Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh, they will be expected to get past the Scots on Thursday.