It is a fact that winning and losing are part and parcel of the game. But what is more important than the result, is the intent of the players and their will to perform every time when they go out to represent the nation. Afghanistan cricket team lost a close fought match against Pakistan but every single player was like a live wire ready to dive, run, bowl and give their everything to get their team through. Their passion for the game highlighted all the things that were badly missing in the Indian cricket team – the killer instinct and the hunger to win the game.
India gets an unceremonial exit from Asia Cup
There are a handful of nations who play the over glorified sports called Cricket. The situation becomes worse when we narrow it down to tournaments like the Asia Cup. So, the situation becomes grave when Indian cricket team fails to perform even in this small rookie league where it is assumed to be the title favourite.
The Indian cricket team failed miserably in the ongoing tournament. After two back-to-back defeats at the hands of resource-crunched Pakistan and Sri Lanka, India is officially out from the title clash. It has exposed the Indian team thoroughly right before the T20 World Cup scheduled in October next month. Here we are highlighting some of the major flaws that India needs to correct in order to overturn the fortunes in the next matches lined up.
From team selection to Captaincy, India was caught wanting for a miracle
When Virat Kohli relinquished captaincy of the side, Rohit was touted as the greatest captain India could have courtesy of his 5 titles while leading Mumbai Indians. But the fortune has not changed a bit. Rohit Sharma led the side in a textbook style with no out of the box thinking or field placement that was a niche during Dhoni’s era. The approach right from the start in power plays was on the defensive side as if the pitches are a belter for pacers and is swinging both ways sharp and square.
The selection of Deepak Hooda in the playing eleven raised several questions as to why he was played if the team didn’t want him to bowl even for one over and send him at such a later stage of the game. Pakistan played a risk of sending up Nawaz against India which paid for them, similarly they promoted Shadab against Afghanistan and did them wonders. But India followed the routine and played on names rather than demand of the match and gamble when the other side were cruising in the game. The least to say over the fitness and fielding of Rohit Sharma.
Moreover, the captain should be cool headed rather than one who loses his cool over his young team mates. There were several instances where Rohit Sharma lost his cool be it the Arshdeep drop-catch incidence or Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s incidence.
I have not seen this type of behavior from any previous indian captain in my entire life……now i can understand why in 2017 MSD recommended Kohli's name instead of Rohit sharma
In fact, Dhoni knew that only Kohli could handle the entire Indian team.#SackRohit pic.twitter.com/RyNONgopiM
— ayush_viratian (@Virat_champion) September 7, 2022
Additionally, Rohit lacked the Dhoni factor. Dhoni always brought the best from his bowlers and patted them back at their bad times and guided them to think ahead of the batter. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s relentless wide line failures exposed this side and the team badly missed a leader like Dhoni. Moreover, in all the matches the team failed to score big in the last five overs and kept throwing wickets at crucial times.
A lot of questions should be poised towards the team selectors as well. In multinational tournaments they failed to take into consideration injuries and backup for pacers. The squad lacked pace options and was restricted when Avesh Khan caught fever. Why did they include only three pacers in the squad that too new pacers who have not delivered big on the international level? The pace battery has to be overhauled completely if India really wants to have a shot at the World cup title.
Furthermore, many players were included only in names and buzz around them. Evidently, Rishabh Pant has a better strike rate, performance, average and approach in Test as compared to T20. Similarly, many players got a direct entry into the national squad on the back of some IPL knocks. International level knockout matches are a different ball game altogether and not like a month-long domestic league extravaganza.
Wokeism and VVIPism
It seems that the BCCI has been stung with wokeness. It asked players to take a knee for a completely leftist agenda and never thought to do the same for any Hindu cause or atrocities on Hindus in Pakistan, Bangladesh and the world over. Similarly, all the players want to look cool and intellectual. They have been relentlessly targeting and sermonising on how to and how not to celebrate Hindu festivals. The former Captain Virat Kohli has been leading the charge in this wokeness.
Even before it could be said that his supreme form is back, Kohli made a public statement which gave glimpses of rift and individual egos letting down the cause of the team.
He said, “When I left Test captaincy I got message only from MS Dhoni and nobody else. Lot of people have my number but only he had called. There are some connections which are genuine and it has some security. If you want to give me suggestions, give me one-on-one.”
Even the Cricketing great Sunil Gavaskar questioned the timing and need of making such a public statement. He lambasted Virat for this verbatim.
He questioned, “What message did he want?”. “Encouragement? But then he is done with captaincy, so why would he need encouragement? That chapter (captaincy) is already closed”.
He added, “Now you are playing only as a cricketer. So focus on that role because when you are the captain, you think about and worry about your mates. Once captaincy is over, it’s time to focus on your own game.”
More importantly, it seemed as if the spot in the team matters less and all it needs to perform is to get praise worthy messages to boost the ego. It also raises questions on Rahul Dravid’s coaching. This public display of rift with present or former players reminisces of the Ganguly-Chappel saga when Dravid was captain of the side. It seems that he has failed miserably in maintaining discipline and camaraderie in the team which he achieved successfully with the Under-19 team and turned them into good players.
This also highlights that it is not necessary that a great player like Rahul Dravid turns out a great coach for team India. Sanjay Bangar couldn’t achieve several heights in his cricketing career but did wonders in the coaching sphere.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the squad is more a group of VVIP and great Individual players rather than a cohesive team which gets each other’s back and can up the ante at any time to get the team across the line. Rather, the young generation of Cricketers want to-be actors from their debut itself.
While new rivalries like Afghanistan-Pakistan, Srilanka-Bangladesh are emerging, the wokeness has turned the India-Pakistan arch rivalry into a pathetic show of aman ki asha especially off the field.
It is high time that the Indian cricket team digs deep and course corrects so that Cricket as a game doesn’t suffer.
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