Act One of Yuvraj Singh's highly-anticipated comeback did not quite come to fruition with the rain gods deciding to play spoilsport in the first T20 match at Visakhapatnam on Saturday. Act Two, unfortunately, does not look too good either.
The entire country has been aching to watch one of its most entertaining and popular players make a return to the Indian fold for quite some time now. A capacity crowd came out in droves hopeful of getting more than a glimpse of last year's World Cup hero donning the Indian blue and scoring a few runs - preferably in sixes of course -- on Saturday. Alas, it was not to be. As rain fell undeterred and refused to relent, forcing abandonment.
The second T20, scheduled for a 7 p.m. IST start on Tuesday in Chennai, is also under threat from the weather. Rains have lashed the city for the last few days, with considerable rainfall falling in the evenings. Rain is forecast for Tuesday as well, so it remains to be seen how much - if at all any - of the match will be possible.
Both India and New Zealand will be desperate to get a full game ahead of the World T20 in Sri Lanka. Getting a small idea of the ideal line-up and batting order might be vital going into the World Cup; of course, it can be argued that with just one international game, not much would have been decided anyway, leaving both teams to rely on the warm-up matches.
India are likely to go with their strongest line-up, meaning the deadly duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir will most likely open the innings. Both the players have not been in good form lately, but T20 is a format that can help take away all your inhibitions and self-doubt; something that Sehwag, particularly, will look forward to.
Harbhajan Singh might get the nod as the second spinner, seeing as how pitches in Chennai always seem to aid the slower bowlers. The Turbanator will be eager to make his mark, if given a chance. An in-form Harbhajan is always a good sign for India.
With the inception of the IPL, the MA Chidambaram Stadium has been witness to plenty of T20 matches. However, this match will be the first ever T20 international at the stadium and the Kiwis will be hoping to take their record against India in the shortest format of the game to 4-0.
Daniel Vettori, who missed the Test series due to injury, will make a return, with several other T20 specialists brought in. Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor are two names that always stand out when it comes to the 20-over matches, and both will be keen to gain some much-needed confidence, although Taylor was easily the best bastman for New Zealand in the Test series.
India squad: MS Dhoni (capt), Gautam Gambhir (vice-capt), Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan, R Ashwin, Zaher Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Ashok Dinda, L Balaji, Piyush Chawla, Manoj Tiwary.
NZ squad: Ross Taylor (capt), Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, Rob Nicol, Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori, James Franflin, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Nathan McCullum, Ronnie Hira, Adam Milne, BJ Watling.