World Cup T20: India worried about too many factors

In the end, Virat Kohli’s swan song as captain of the T20I turned into a Greek tragedy: the hero aware of his destiny but unable to avoid it. Afghanistan’s defeat at the hands of New Zealand in a Group 2 Super 12 competition meant that India, the pre-tournament favorite for the T20 World Cup title, suffered an elimination in the group stage and failed to reach the semifinals of an ICC event for the first time. since 2012.

But even before the tournament started, the warning signs were there. Hardik Pandya’s fitness dominated the headlines. He struggled with a sore back during the second half of the 2021 IPL and even missed the first two Mumbai Indians (MI) matches. He didn’t bowling and had a hard time with the bat. “A player like him is probably just a good inning away from getting back to his natural form,” was Pandya’s defense of IM captain Rohit Sharma at the time.

The problem was that the ‘only good’ inning never fully materialized, and the uncertainty surrounding Pandya’s physical condition at bowling left him with only five bowling options. India’s new head coach Rahul Dravid and his mental confidence will have to decide whether Pandya can play solely as a hitter in T20I if he doesn’t pitch regularly.

Fair work: India’s exit from the World Cup also brought down the curtain on the tenure of the coaching trio of Ravi Shastri, Arun and R. Sridhar. This was not the farewell they had hoped for and despite achieving great success with the team, especially the test side that started to consistently win overseas, they missed an ICC Trophy. – KR Deepak

The lack of clarity of roles also paralyzed the side. During the T20I series at home against England in March, Kohli had expressed his desire to start with Rohit. But with KL Rahul finishing the 2021 IPL as the third-highest career scorer (626), Kohli moved to No. 3 for India’s first World Cup preparation match, reasoning that Rahul, in his current form, it was the best option. to be a Rohit Opening Partner.

The situation, however, was that now India’s top three were made up of three high-quality hitters, who tended to keep an eye out before accelerating. Ishan Kishan, who was selected as a substitute when the India team was announced, played only one match. The southpaw opened with Rahul against New Zealand in an attempt to neutralize the threat posed by left arm pacemaker Trent Boult. Although the plan did not work, there was an intention to attack. India would do well to identify and act on the specificity of roles that an accelerated format like the T20 demands.

The same applies to bowling in India. The inclusion of Mohammad Shami could be attributed more to his dominance of the red ball than to the dominance of the T20. Shami has played just 17 T20I and has 18 wickets at an economic rate of just under 10. The return of R. Ashwin, whose last T20I was on the West Indies tour in July 2017, was also significant. While the 35-year-old Ashwin has been in good shape in the last two IPLs and is one of the best off-spin players in the world, his pick in the game XI at the expense of the young, albeit fighter, leggie Rahul Chahar is indicative of a T20 selection. policy that is a bit more reactive than forward-looking.

Another factor that has influenced the early departure from India is fatigue. India’s preference for players of all formats has seen the majority of the squad live in biosecure bubbles for six months since the World Test Championship final in England. “Sometimes bubble fatigue, mental fatigue also creeps in,” Jasprit Bumrah had said after the loss to New Zealand. “Sometimes you need a break. Sometimes you miss your family. You have been traveling for six months. So all of that sometimes plays in the back of your mind. “

Bharat Arun, the outgoing bowling coach from India, also echoed Bumrah’s sentiment. “Being on the road for six months is a huge task,” Arun said. “The players haven’t gone home since they had a short break after the last [2020] IPL, and they’ve been in a bubble for six months. And I think that comes at a huge cost, ”Arun had said.

Also significant was the point Arun made that throwing plays an important role in this T20 World Cup. “I’m not trying to make any excuses, but the trend at this World Cup has been that the team that wins the draw has a big advantage, especially when you’re playing at the Dubai Stadium,” he said. “So the wicket softens when you go bowling for the second time. But there are no excuses, we should have hit better, and also in the first game, we had the opportunity to defend our total, but we looked a bit below average, ”said Arun. This may still sound like an excuse, but Arun is right. Of the 42 games played in this tournament until the end of the Super 12, 27 had been won by the team that won the draw. India lost the draw in its first three games and won only one of those three games. He won the draw in his remaining games and the result went well both times.

Fitness Issues: The uncertainty surrounding Hardik Pandya’s bowling fitness sidelined with just five bowling options. India’s new head coach Rahul Dravid and his mental confidence will have to decide whether Pandya can play solely as a hitter in T20I if he doesn’t pitch regularly. – REUTERS

India’s exit from the World Cup also brought down the curtain on the tenure of the coaching trio of Ravi Shastri, Arun and R. Sridhar. This was not the farewell they had hoped for and despite achieving great success with the team, especially the test side that started to consistently win overseas, they missed an ICC Trophy.

That said, there is perhaps very little in Indian cricket today that does not bear the imprint of Shastri’s cheeky attitude and Kohli’s passion. And the duo’s pure cricket brand will most likely remain for some time. But with his leadership now and gone, and a new coach and T20I skipper awaiting, the next few weeks will be plagued with questions about the challenges facing the team in the shorter format. And with another T20 World Cup scheduled in Australia next year, Indian cricket is already on a clock.

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