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Windies, Pakistan strong T20 contenders

Chris Gayle – Twenty20’s most feared batsman.

NEW DELHI – The talented Pakistanis and the volatile West Indians will pose the biggest problems for the Indians in the upcoming T20 World Cup to be held in Sri Lanka, according to former Indian Test cricketers Sourav Ganguly and Sanjay Manjrekar.

India lifted the inaugural T20 World Cup held in South Africa in 2007 but have since struggled to impose themselves on this format bowing out of the super six stages in the 2009 and 2010 tournaments.

India will go into the tournament as one of the favourites but Ganguly has cautioned them against the rampaging West Indies.

“They are a powerhouse,” Ganguly, who will be part of the commentary team in Sri Lanka, told reporters today.

“Guys like Chris Gayle, (Kieran) Pollard, Dwayne Smith, Andre Russel, and they got (off-spinner) Sunil Narine. He can be a match-winner.”

“They also have a good fast bowling attack with Fidel Edwards and Kemar Roach – all bowling at 90 miles an hour,” Ganguly added.

“West Indies is a strong Twenty20 team because they have got the best four Twenty20 players in the world,” said Manjrekar, who played 37 Tests and 74 one-day internationals from 1987-1996.”

Ganguly also talked up Pakistan’s chances of adding to their silverware in the 2009 edition. “They have got bundles of talent. If they get going, they can be very dangerous,” he said.

Manjrekar reckoned Pakistan, who have not hosted international cricket since 2009 because of the volatile security situation at home, would give a good account of themselves in Sri Lanka.

“The thing with Pakistan is that because there is not enough cricket happening back home, they are not in the spotlight very often. Come an ICC event, that’s Pakistan’s opportunity to show the world what they are made of.

“They have always been the show-off of world cricket. Pakistanis have that thing about showing off their skills. Shoaib Akhtar, you know, wanted to show off his bowling.

“This is the time for them to get the attention of the cricket-loving public and they would want to seize it.”

Both former players, however, still expected India to stave off every challenge and go on to win the title.

“India always have a great chance, especially in limited- overs cricket. They have got the players who can clear the boundary with ease and they will be playing in the sub- continent,” Ganguly enthused.

“The Indian team has got plenty of match winners… and if the pitch is conducive to spin, Dhoni is a master of using his slow bowlers,” Manjrekar added.

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