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    India hoping for fortune reversal in Twenty20 World Cup

    NEW DELHI (AP) – Form at the Twenty20 (T20) World Cup has been something of an anomaly for India since it won the inaugural title in 2007.

    India stages cricket’s biggest and most lucrative franchise T20 competition, which regularly features the biggest stars of the international game as well the homegrown stars such as Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.

    The national team boasts some of the finest batters and bowlers in both spin and pace departments, and allrounders who can make a difference.

    Yet India hasn’t won the T20 world title since the very first in South Africa, and has only reached the final once in the six subsequent editions.

    Even last year, as host, India didn’t make it out of the group stage in a surprising run that included losses to arch rival Pakistan and eventual finalist New Zealand.

    India’s captain Rohit Sharma during a T20 cricket match between India and South Africa in Guwahati, India. PHOTO: AP

    For context, though, rules in place for the COVID-19 pandemic meant India was host in name and funding only, with all games played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or Oman.

    So Rohit’s so-called Men in Blue are desperate to turn things around in Australia.

    After unofficial warmups against against Australia tomorrow and New Zealand on Wednesday in Brisbane, India’s campaign will start with a blockbuster against Pakistan on October 23 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which is sold out.

    It will then play Bangladesh and South Africa, as well as two qualifiers from the first round.

    India has been acclimatising in Western Australia, where it had a win and a loss in practice games against a West Australian XI.

    Following last year’s T20 World Cup embarrassment in the UAE, India made some changes to the composition of the team and coaching staff.

    Rohit Sharma now leads the team following Virat Kohli’s decision in 2021 to step down as captain. Rahul Dravid has replaced Ravi Shastri as head coach.

    Under new captain and coach, India has played 35 T20s at home and away, with 26 wins and eight losses.

    It holds the record for maximum wins in a calendar year, taking this form into the World Cup.

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