India are in a crunch situation after losing their first Super Eight match in the ICC World T20 against Australia on Friday night. Their next match is against Pakistan on Sunday and it's now do-or-die for the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team. Pakistan are flying high after notching up a morale-boosting win against South Africa in their opening Super Eight match. The two Umars of Pakistan, Umar Gul and Umar Akmal, snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and now they would be itching to inflict a lasting wound upon India.
The Sehwag dilemma is over
India sure have a tough job on their hands. The worrying part is that they haven't yet got their combination right. They left out Virender Sehwag in their last two matches to accommodate five bowlers, and while it paid against England, it backfired big time in the defeat against Australia. There is no denying that in this format the dashing opener has no parallels. He is truly an impact player and carries a fear-factor with him for the opposition side.
True Sehwag hasn't been in great nick of late but a champion is a champion. Right now, none of India's top order is performing well except Virat Kohli, despite him having a bad day at the office against Australia. Irfan Pathan, partnering Gautam Gambhir at the top, hasn't come good. Irfan might have a reputation as a big-hitter but against top-quality pace, he has very little chance to succeed. So that leaves Dhoni no choice but to bring back Sehwag.
Dropping Yuvraj an option to continue with five bowlers
Yuvraj Singh has made a fairytale comeback in international cricket but one has to accept that he is far from his best at the moment and needs more time to return to form. So he can be asked to sit out if Dhoni wants to go in with Sehwag plus five bowling options. Though that would be a tough decision to make, but not tougher than dropping Sehwag. However, Yuvraj offers Dhoni variety in bowling with his slow left-armers. So that could also play on the Indian skipper's mind while taking a call on Yuvraj.
After the match against Australia, it's more than possible that Dhoni will revert to his preferred seven-four combination (seven batsman, four bowlers). In that case, either Piyush Chawla or Harbhajan Singh will be asked to sit out. Both the spinners have blown hot and cold in the two matches they have played. Their surrender against Shane Watson and David Warner undid their exceptional bowling against England.
With all these problems, India find themselves in the soup. Pakistan will sure come all guns blazing. Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi give them the upper hand against an out-of-form Indian batting. Imran Nazir, Mohammad Hafeez and the Akmal brothers give them an edge in batting too at this point. And if Gul finds form with the ball as well, it may become difficult for India to manage Pakistan bowling.