- There is no denying the fact that Indian T20 cricket is not only robust and thriving but also endowed with some of the best-known names in the cricketing world. Such is the popularity of the game in India that you won’t be surprised to witness the emergence of future stalwarts from mofussil places in hordes. The competition at all levels of age groups is so intense across the country that more and more talents are coming out in the open ready to represent at higher stages, especially the shortest version. Now, the brand Indian Premier League T20 is the most valued cricket tournament in the cricketing world is proven beyond doubt.
- Young local talents are lapped up by the franchises showing how competitive the game has evolved over the years. With so much at stake and talent galore, Team India is always expected to be the eleven to beat in any bilateral as well as multilateral tournaments. No wonder, Team India is accorded top billing for its ability to draw crowds as well as huge revenue generation. Matters are made much easier as the expatriates spread across the globe throng cricket stadiums to cheer the Indian team in hordes. The moot point to ponder over here is whether the Indian team, especially in multilateral events in both T20Is and ODIs, is justifying its top-draw billing.
- The answer is no. Successive failures in the World Cups as well as the recent ignominious exit from the Asia Cup amply demonstrate Team India is crumbling under pressure and failing to sail through crunch moments. Understand, the core team members picked in the squad are proven exponents in the IPL as well as international events over the years and hence, expected to perform admirably. The slam-bang cricket in the shortest format demands cent percent performance from each player in batting, bowling, and fielding, respectively will sound cliched but it is inevitable to dissect. Let’s look into the team performance in the Asia Cup threadbare.
PC: Kamlesh Rai
- Captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli had one impactful inning but ended up on the losing side. KL Rahul has been a disappointment. Hearteningly, Virat Kohli appears to have turned a corner with two 50-plus scores but is far from being his fluent self. The biggest letdown is the middle order. The likes of Surya Kumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Deepak Hooda have disappointed to deliver when it matters most. Suffice it to say they have flattered to deceive. The resultant outcome is the punch required during the final overs has resulted in the team scoring 15-20 runs less in each match. Preferring Rishabh Pant over the designated finisher Dinesh Karthik has not yielded desired results. For all his swashbuckling batting, Pant hasn’t exactly set the T20I cricket on fire yet. What about the bowlers then?
- The senior pace spearhead Bhuvaneshwar Kumar has failed to deliver during the death overs leaking 19 and 14 runs in two crucial penultimate overs against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Super 4s resulting in defeats. Spinners Yajuvendra Chahal and Ravi Bishnoi have not delivered when wanted. Ravi Ashwin had just a game. Hardik Pandya the bowler again doesn’t evoke much confidence yet. To top it off, constant changing and chopping have not helped the team’s cause either. With the T20 World Cup in Australia fast approaching, the Indian think tank should evolve a sound strategy along with multiple plans if it wishes to emerge victorious. Did someone mention continuity helps sustain the momentum? Indeed, Team India should ensure undertaking too many changes will be of little help for the ultimate cause.