Daijiworld Media Network
Vizag, Sep 8: The match has been called off. Have to feel sad for the crowd. They came in large numbers - particularly to watch Yuvraj Singh play - but all they witnessed was rain, rain and more rain. What's worse, the story could repeat itself in the 2nd T20 match, as it has been raining in Chennai as well.
Yuvraj Singh: Amazing feeling. Thanks to god that I've got another chance. When I was going through my treatment, India was playing against Australia. I saw a couple of games and it was frustrating. I just concentrated on my health even though it was frustrating that I couldn't play for India. When I was diagnosed, we had the World Cup in our hand. The cancer was a big blow, I didn't want to tell myself that I had cancer. I got a lot of prayers and wishes from the whole of India. My passion is my game, the most important thing is to play for India. I'm back because of all the prayers. I have prepared very well. Initially when I started, it was tough on the body but I pushed myself hard. Being a sportsman, my muscle strength is coming back. It has been awesome to play with the boys. We've been playing tennis ball cricket inside the dressing room and it has been fun. I can't wait to get back to the field and play. Youwecan is my cancer charity, I just want to spread awareness and spread the message that 'if Yuvi can, you can'.
There are a lot of puddles on the ground, but the rain has become lighter. The ground has a good draining system, so we could have a match tonight if the rain stays away.
The ground is completely covered. The rain has become heavier, so it will take a while for play to start, if at all it does!
Match Preview - Preview by Pradeep
India take on New Zealand in the first of the two T20 internationals. The matches are pretty significant for both teams with the T20 World Cup lurking round the corner. For all the thrills and excitement of a T20I, the spectators on the field as well as those glued to the television will be watching out for one man, Yuvraj Singh.
The 30 year old hero of the 2011 winning World Cup team will be the cynosure of all eyes. He returns in Indian colors for the first time since last featuring at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in November, 2011. He has been in a battle ever since then, not with the bat and the ball, but a battle to save his life. Ever since he was diagnosed with a rare form of germ cancer, Yuvraj has been a different person altogether. From being a happy-go-lucky guy who believed in taking life as it comes, Yuvraj has now turned out to one who believes in his destiny. This is his second coming, he will take guard afresh as he returns to the vigor of international cricket.
The match is not all about Yuvraj though. Both teams have some serious business coming up over the next few days. This is the last opportunity for either teams to get into the groove of playing top-notch T20 cricket before the T20 extravaganza. The two matches also provides both teams with the opportunity to decide upon their best permutations and combinations going into the gala event.
India has been one of the few teams that has laid less emphasis on international T20 cricket. They have played the least number of T20 games amongst regular Test teams barring Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. The players though have been well versed in this form of the game with a majority of them featuring prominently in the IPL.
With the comeback of Yuvraj Singh taking precedence, not much has been said about the comeback of another big ticket player, Harbhajan Singh. However, it is unlikely that he may feature in the final XI as Ashwin is set to get the nod ahead of him. With Irfan Pathan in the mix, India might go in with 3 pace bowlers with Ashok Dinda, who picked up 4 wickets in the lone T20I match against Sri Lanka expected to play ahead of Lakshmipathi Balaji.
Unlike India, New Zealand are regulars in this format of the game having played more matches than anyone else barring Pakistan. They might have slumped to defeats in Test cricket but they are a different kettle of fish altogether in the shorter formats of the game. Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor have the knowledge and experience of Indian conditions having featured in the IPL, while the return of Jacob Oram gives them depth in both departments.
Daniel Vettori is back in the side after recovering from an injury which saw him miss the Test part of the tour. Tim Southee harassed the Indians in the second Test at Bangalore and should form a potent pair with Bracewell and Mills.. New Zealand will go into the Test series with more confidence as they start their build up to the World T20.
Rohit Sharma, who endured a miserable time in Sri Lanka during the five ODI matches will have to stave off competition from Manoj Tiwary for the final batting slot unless MS Dhoni decides to go in with five bowlers. In such a scenario, Harbhajan might get the nod ahead of Balaji and Piyush Chawla.
New Zealand will welcome back inspirational Daniel Vettori. Jacob Oram, who was in superb nick during the recently concluded SLPL will look to continue in the same mold.
Pitch and Conditions:
Visakhapatnam is usually a batting friendly wicket with big scores being chased down with ease. It should be a run-fest provided the weather stays good. It has been raining over the past few days and thunderstorms are predicted as well.
It is going to be huge moment in my life. I can't wait for 8th (September) to come in. Everyday, I put up status message, counting the number of days left - Yuvraj Singh is as enthusiastic about his comeback as a debutant would be.
We will try a couple of different combinations. It's not experimental but more to give the players' some rest. Whoever plays, every time you play to win - Ross Taylor suggests that New Zealand might experiment a bit before the World T20.
India (From): Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni(w/c), Manoj Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Zaheer Khan, Piyush Chawla, Rohit Sharma, Ashok Dinda
New Zealand (From): Rob Nicol, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum(w), Ross Taylor(c), Kane Williamson, James Franklin, Jacob Oram, Nathan McCullum, Doug Bracewell, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, BJ Watling, Ronnie Hira, Adam Milne, Daniel Vettori