On current form, India are most certainly favourites to win the World Twenty20. There is a long way to go yet, but MS Dhoni's men have got things spot on in their first two games. It's hard to believe that, prior to the commencement of the World T20, they had last played a match in the format in October 2013.
After two seven-wicket wins, over Pakistan and West Indies, respectively, Dhoni and Co. are looking in fine fettle. But are there weak links in the current India set-up? The short answer is: Yes, of course. All teams have weak links, and India are no different.
The most obvious weak link is in the batting. Dhoni admitted that his batsmen have not quite been tested just yet. After his side's win over West Indies, he told the TV cameras:
We are playing well, so it doesn't really matter to me that all of us should get a chance, our bowling has been tested while batting not so far. Hopefully, in the coming matches the other batsmen will get a chance.
Of particular concern is Shikhar Dhawan. The swashbuckling left-hander made a big name for himself during the 2013 edition of the Champions Trophy, but he has been somewhat underwhelming in the shortest format of the game.
Dhawan has played just four T20 internationals, and he has scored just 67 runs in all of those combined. Domestically, he is far more experienced with 97 matches and 21 fifties at an average of 31.98, but Dhawan's form is a slight worry.
A stable top order is vital in T20s, and Dhawan's dismissals in both games thus far have been unnecessary. He made a steady 30 against Pakistan but got out trying to play the short ball in far too adventurous fashion.
How often has Dhawan got out to a short ball in past 6 months?More importantly, why play big shot in an otherwise 'rich' over? #HawaBadlegi— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) March 21, 2014
Equally concerning is Yuvraj Singh. Not only has his fielding been sloppy, his batting has also been below-average. Against Pakistan, Yuvraj got out cheaply, and against the West Indies, his slow approach forced India to take the game into the final over and finish it far later than they should have.
Yuvraj is vastly experienced in T20s, but India cannot afford any passengers at this stage. India need win just one more of their group games in order to ensure their qualification for the semi-finals. With their next game against hosts Bangladesh, they might be tempted to test out an alternative batting order and a new face in place of Yuvraj.
india have won 2 in 2 but issues with death bowling and form of shikhar and yuvraj a concern. pitch great ally though and spin excellent— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 23, 2014
Where India also need to test themselves is setting a target. They are a team that prefers to chase in the short format. Dhoni has won the toss and chosen to field first in 16 games out of the 28 occasions he has won the toss. The stats are 50-50, winning eight and losing eight when the toss has been won. Overall, though, India have won 14 out of the 23 T20s in which they have bowled first.
The toss has been in their favour lately; they've won both and chose to chase each time, and Dhoni's record in winning the toss has been freakish.
MS Dhoni has won 13 of his last 14 tosses. The one game where he lost the toss was washed out. Live: http://t.co/KHQOWJyNbe— cricketnext (@cricketnext) March 23, 2014
It would be good for India to test themselves with setting a target, but if it's a weakness at all, it's a very small one.
From a bowling perspective, India cannot be faulted. They have been sublime. The seamers who have often been criticised have put their hands up, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar being particularly special against the Windies with figures of 3-0-3-0, thanks to a superb spell of swing bowling.
Amit Mishra is a leg-spinning bundle of delight, with a googly that will fox even veteran batsmen. Ravi Jadeja can be expensive, but he remains a real wicket-taking option. No other bowling attack seems more complete.
Sure, India have a few weak links and worries, but as it stands, they look like one of the toughest teams to beat in the World T20.