by Deepanshu Srivastava
The agony of the Indian men’s cricket team’s ouster from the T 20 I World Cup – 2021 at the league stage itself is still fresh in the minds of cricket lovers. It seems neither BCCI nor our players have learned any lesson from this humiliating defeat. Once again, Team India is knocked out of the Asia Cup Tournament after getting defeated in two consecutive matches in Super – the 4 levels by the arch-rival (Pakistan) and ICC T-20 I 08th ranked -team Sri Lanka in the Super – 4 stages. Remarkably, only six teams participate in the Asia Cup, out of which the four teams namely – Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have very poor ratings in the ICC T 20 I rankings. Hong Kong was not even given direct entry into the tournament. The question is how Team India will come out of the predicament. The outcome of the Asia Cup for Team India becomes more gruesome given the upcoming T 20 I World Cup in October this year. It, therefore, becomes a compulsion to find out the reasons for TeamIndia falling flat on its face. #. Reasons for Team India’s Miserable Performance: – ( 1 ) Faulty Selection of Playing – XI: – Till the last match, India was struggling to find a robust opening pair. The experimentation is still on. KL Rahul was asked to open the inning with Rohit Sharma. Rahul has no experience in making a perfect opening partner. This resulted in his inability to provide a good start with his inconsistent captain. The duo could make only one opening partnership of 50 runs or more. Every time Rahul failed and one down Virat Kohli practically, who himself is struggling with his form, opened the innings. Moreover, Rahul was not on the team for more than two months due to an injury. He made just 70 runs in the four matches he played. Perhaps, BCCI and our team management go for the selection of playing – XI based on their likings or dislikings of a player. That is why they did not pick up Shubman Gill despite his excellent run – rate in the matches he played before the Asia Cup. Which international team is without its fixed opening partner? This is a puzzle that needs answers from the BCCI. It is now known that Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant have minimal cricketing shots for any lack in providing good runs at the number – 2 and number – 3 positions. Such underperforming players should not be retained together in the national team. In the two innings that Pant batted, he could make only 31 runs from 25 balls by playing as a three-down batter.
As far as the middle – order is concerned, which is the backbone of any team, team management got pleasure in experimenting with the idea of preferring Pant over Dinesh Karthik. Karthik did superbly well in the recently – concluded IPL and was found to be a useful finisher in IPL – 2022. Technically also Karthik is much experienced as a batter as well as a stumper. The decision of dropping Karthik from the playing – XI of the Asia Cup is a mystery. Another middle-order batter, Hardik Pandya also lost his golden touch in batting and could not give support to the sinking batting line-up of Team India.#. Bowling Department: – In the tournament, Team India experimented with playing only with three seamers namely – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, and the inexperienced newbie Arshdeep Singh. B. Kumar showed poor form in his bowling having very little pace to utilize the initial dew on the pitch while Pandya also failed with the ball. He gave away 44 runs to claim a single wicket in his quota of 04 overs in the match against Pakistan and went wicketless after giving away 35 runs against the all-important match with Sri Lanka. Hardik’s technique of giving short balls and claiming the wickets by getting the batters caught did not work with the acclaimed players of Pakistan and Sri Lanka. His childish technique of claiming the wickets may be good for the IPL but certainly may not work for the international players and batters of teams – Australia, New Zealand, and England in the upcoming World Cup. This is high time that India gets its fourth seamer groomed from amongst the super-express speedsters – Umran Malik, Avesh Khan, Mohsin Khan, and Md. Siraj. Keeping Shami out of the squad is certainly an injustice to the veteran Indian pacer. Will selectors come out with any explanations for his non-inclusion and making the bowling department a flop show in the entire Asia Cup? It was difficult for Team India to restrict the runs in the death overs. Selectors seem to be very harsh on off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin by dropping him quite often without any reason. They preferred two-leg – spinners instead of playing a combination of one leg and one off-spinner. Team India paid a heavy price against the match with Pakistan, when its leftie Mohammad Nawaz attacked harshly on the leg-spinners duo by smashing 42 runs over their bowling in just 20 balls. Selectors had made similar mistakes by preferring inexperienced Varun Chakravarthy over Ashwin in the previous World Cup – 2021. This superfluous mistake of selectors against New Zealand became the main reason for India’s early ouster from the previous World Cup – 2021. Do Don t our selectors like the face of Ashwin? ( 2 ). Rohit Sharma as a Captain: – There is no doubt that Sharma is a great opening batter that Team India has ever produced but when captaincy comes, the bulky hitman certainly lacks the power to taking quick decisions as to when to use change in bowling and batting orders. This gentleman captain lacks the shrewdness required by a captain. Therefore, the team – management and the selectors which include captains are not on the same page. As an example, he could never think of handing over the ball to part-time bowler Deepak Hooda. Moreover, Sharma has very less experience with the captaincy in international matches. It is hoped that he has learned a lesson from the humiliating ouster of Team India from the Asia Cup – 2022. It is further hoped that our selectors will not give a deaf ear to the suggestions coming in from the experts and they will go for a properly balanced team in India for the upcoming World Cup – 2022. Otherwise, the situation will coincide with the popular Bollywood song – “Sab Kuch Luta ke hosh mein aaye to kya Hua”. About the Author:
Deepanshu Srivastava is an interpretative journalist, a sports – enthusiast, and a storyteller from Pune ( Maharashtra ). He may be reached through – firstname.lastname@example.org