WTF (Where's the fault) with Indian team....
Updated: Jul 25
It's been not a great last one month for the Indian cricket fans. The Indian team has been on the receiving end of the severe beating from the Kiwis. The expectations were high when the Indian team reached the shores of New Zealand. Initially, they have fulfilled with some nail-biting action thanks to the dramatic super over finishes, and they clinched the T20 series 5-0. Then the graph went down south, starting with the ODI series where the Kiwis whitewashed the Indian team. Then the color of the ball changed, but unfortunately, the result didn't. India lost the Test series 0-2. The Indian batsmen and bowlers were struggling to adapt to local conditions despite going into the series as favorites.
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
Even in the past, the team has been in the same situation. But what is amusing is the approach and the response towards it from the team and the management side. Even after the ODI series loss, the post-match presentation talks sounded that the priority is not the ODIs currently, and hence they don't mind the loss. This response is not the stuff one is expecting when you are representing the nation. It is not the captain who is sounding a bit arrogant but the entire team and its management staff.
It all started last year when the Indian team won the historic test series on Australian soil. The team was relishing the victory as they were the first ones to do so. Yes, it was a great achievement, and they deserved all the limelight. But one shouldn't forget the fact that the Australian team was playing without their two primary players David Warner and Steve Smith. So, it was not a robust Australian team that was defeated, but it was a significant achievement.
Then came the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. India went in as the favorites, and they rightly proved it by going undefeated in the group stages. In the semi-final, they faced New Zealand, and after a hard-fought battle, the Indian team ended up short, and their dreams of winning the World Cup again for the third time were shattered that night. The reason that the team management gave was they had a terrible 15 minutes, which led to this outcome. The obsession with including the players carrying the X-factor tagline and lack of clarity in the team selection contributed to the loss at the World Cup.
Then the home season started, and India was victorious against the newly transformed and a weaker South African team and won the series 3-0. Then the series against Bangladesh was one-sided as it was the most robust format for the Bangla team. But the coach Ravi Shastri was boasting about the win and how the Indian pace attack trio is the No.1 in the world. Yes, it was one of the rarest occasions where the pacers picked most of the wickets in the Indian conditions. But one must understand that the two teams are not on the same level, and the tough challenges were lying ahead.
As 2020 started, the team management was giving press meet that 2019 was one of the most successful for the Indian cricket team in recent times. It was a compelling line to throw at the media despite the lack of significant victories. They defeated New Zealand 4-1 on their home soil in the limited-overs format, and it was a considerable triumph. They had a very successful home season, which includes wins in the bilateral home series against Bangladesh, South Africa, and West Indies. They had a dominating tour when they traveled to the Caribbean Islands as well. They failed to reach the finals of the World Cup, where they were touted as favorites to clinch the trophy. They were not able to break the jinx that the current team has been facing off late in the knockout stages in the ICC tournaments.
In the whites, they faced defeat in South Africa in 2018, but they were able to make a comeback in the final Test and end the series on a high note as 1-2. The preference of Rohit over Rahane raised eyebrows, but Rahane proved his worth in the later Tests. Rohit has come a long way in the Tests afterward. They suffered a colossal drubbing then in England in 2018. The Indian team had their moments, and the occurrence of injuries during the series didn't help the team cause as well. The actual scoreline doesn't reflect the competitiveness between the two sides, and only a few individual performances stood out as they failed as a team collectively.
They were able to defeat Australia 2-1, but still, it was a weaker one with the absence of two prime players. Now they are wholly outplayed in New Zealand. Kohli's rare lack of form with the bat was a significant reason. Bumrah was not at his best after making a comeback from injury. The absence of an excellent all-round seam bowling option in the form of Hardik created trouble in the team composition. The new openers were struggling to see off the red cherry, which caused a significant problem for the experienced middle-order batsmen. There were some positives from the limited-overs series with the emergence of Rahul and Shreyas. The selection of Pant over Saha in the Tests was confusing, and it didn't pay off.
The aggressive send-off from the Indian captain during the Tests didn't bode him well. Then Kohli snapped at the reporter in the post-match conference, which shows the mindset that is revolving around the team. This incident indicates that the team must handle the defeat in a better-composed manner. He is the one who received the ICC Spirit of Cricket award last year. He must remember that and appropriately act when put under pressure.
Going forward, hopefully, the clarity and the thought process behind the team selection improves, and the team stays humble in victories and ready to face the defeat rather than just neglecting and trying to evade it.
About the Author:
The post is written by Aravind . Aravind is a graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam and an avid cricket enthusiast. He follows the game with great passion. More than mere watching, he likes to analyze the game deeply and write blogs.