Team India- Of lost glories and more miseries

The humongous loss against England in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2022 might take ages for die-hard fans to sink in and why not when millions like us have woven our lives in and around these moments for long time now. The eyes and heart get desperate for silverware every time our Men in Blue embark on their journey in ICC events but the story of ‘so close yet so far’ is becoming a routine now which aches hearts a bit too much.

For the class of people only talking – ‘Match laga do’ .. ‘Aaj Match hai na?’.. ‘Chalo Match dekhte hain’ day and night, the semi-final loss of the ongoing T20 World Cup has scarred us in unimaginable ways. As it stands, losing and winning are two integral aspects of the game but at the moment, it’s not about the loss, it’s all and everything about the manner in which team lost.

For a team that saw its hands on three ICC Trophies in the span of six years (2007, 2011, and 2013), maybe the fans are now spoiled and spoiled for life. MS Dhoni not only made us all believe that we can stand tall under pressure situations but indulged fans in expecting more and more of same kind of glories in years to come.

And while that hasn’t been the case in recent years, it’s high time to analyse and reflect on a few things. The more the team isn’t able to get over the line in knockout fixtures, the more it adds to the pressure for next year’s ICC event and the cycle is becoming vicious now.

How and where it went wrong?

1. Lacklustre show of opening pair

The trusted and experienced opening pair of India was tipped high to let bat talk in the mega tournament but that was never the case, not even once actually. It is a no-brainer that for a team to set the tone perfect, the opening pair needs to click and why one would not expect that when you have two white-ball stars at the helm of affairs.

To everyone’s disappointment, there was not even a single fifty-run stand from the Indian openers throughout the tournament. And to add to the woes, Rohit Sharma never ever came to the party. The skipper managed a solitary fifty against the Netherlands and couldn’t rise to the occasion when it mattered the most and KL Rahul, while managing two fifties, ran out of gas when it was necessary to come out all guns blazing.

2. Conservative approach in the powerplay

While Rohit Sharma made it very clear that the team will go all out in games while displaying a fearless brand of cricket, it never really came to the fore in the T20 World Cup. While Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav kept getting all-important runs for the team and were showmen on various days, there is a reason why it cannot suffice every time and there is a reason why cricket is called a team game.

The same conservative approach in powerplay became the bone of contention during the match against England too and had it been not for Hardik Pandya, India might have had to settle with a below par score.

3. The role of Yuzvendra Chahal in the set-up

While Yuzvendra Chahal entirely missed the flight for last year’s T20 World Cup, he kept warming the bench throughout this edition. Chahal’s throughout exclusion becomes questionable and especially when he has been the second-most successful bowler for India in T20Is (in terms of wickets). With 85 wickets in 69 games, he is only second to Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s tally of 89 wickets where the senior pacer has played 85 games.

While it made some sense to go with Ravi Ashwin in the high-intensity game against Pakistan with all of his experience, Chahal not even getting a solitary game turned out to be quite questionable.

4. Bowling show against England

With India’s star pacer Jasprit Bumrah not making to the T20 World Cup 2022, young Arshdeep Singh had big shoes to fill and he did that reasonably well. He finished the tournament as the highest wicket-taker for India but failed to fetch success in the semi-final game. Not only him, even the senior pros collapsed under mounting pressure which let England take away the game in the most disastrous manner.

As things stand now, the team needs to analyze not only on the above mentioned points, but also various aspects in details. The recent series of losses in ICC knockout fixtures have surely painted poignant memories for fans and players alike which might only fade if people get to see a greater turnaround in 2023 World Cup at home. With everything said, an emotional fan inside me would still cheer for India with same vigour every time but a practical one calls for a detailed reflection.

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