India’s exit from the World Cup : What Went Wrong?

Posted: March 29, 2007 in india, loss, world cup

That is the one word that I can use for the entire World Cup campaign of India. Various observations on what went wrong for India:
1. It seems that India was the only team at the start of the Cup, which was not clear about the likely 11. Or even the likely 12. Will Pathan play, will Sehwag play, will it be Kumble or Bhajji, will Karthik play, etc. Most teams, had a basic best 11 in place, with likelihood of minor tweaking to be done on a game to game basis.

2. What follows as a consequence of 1, is that we did not have a perfect batting order decided. Who will open, was the first big question. In order to ‘accommodate’ Sehwag, there was likelihood of any kind of jugglery in the batting order. All these kinds of open ends, when you are well into the world cup, was uniquely Indian!

3. What is the sense in saying that Bangladesh bowled well?? Heck, you have 3 chaps with 10000+ runs each, where the opposite team does not have a total of 10000 runs. And yet, you do not have the skills or the experience to play against those bowlers, who may have bowled well on that day??

4. I cannot also understand this statement that media uses often, that ‘cricket is a game of uncertainties’. Tell that to the Aussies. Or the South Africans. Is there any uncertainty about the way they go about their game? Sure, win or loss is a different matter. But you cannot justify your pathetic display under that guise of uncertainty. When you have 5-6 apparently top class batsmen, the uncertainty factor is restricted to 1-2 of them getting out cheaply or getting an unfortunate decision or run out, or something like that. The uncertainty is REMOVED by the rest of them making up for those 1-2 losses, by playing better and ensuring that the team gets runs. We have a case of all of them succumbing to stupid play.

5. Most professional teams today give roles to team members, and they are apt to perform those roles. Against India, after losing a few early wickets, Chamara Silva and Dilshan knew that they had to stay at the wicket, even if it meant just milking singles and making 1s into 2s. No extravagant shots. Nothing in the air. They did that. Put their heads down. Did Indian batting give ANY resemblance of having ANY such plan in their heads? Or even if they had one, were the guys looking like they were attempting to implement that?? Was it panic that said ‘we will not survive if we just hang around here, so might as well make the runs quickly, and get done’?? That can be the only explanation of Uthapa and Ganguly’s mad rush initially, and also for Sehwag to keep going aerially, even after having lost the openers quickly. There is ALWAYS a chance that you will get out that way. Can’t you curb your aerial shots and play a safer game, and hang out, to ensure victory??

6. I, for one, had thought that if India progresses in the World Cup, it will be on account of its bowlers. I had a lot more hope from Zaheer, Munaf, Ajit and whoever else was going to be with them, like Sreesanth or Kumble or even Pathan. They did not do as well as they could have. A lot of extras given. Line and length not kept perfect and thus allowing the batsmen to get out of the pressure, with occasional boundaries. Letting the latter half of the team make a lot of runs, even after having got the earlier wickets. I mean, we should have restricted Bangladesh below 191 and we should have won. It was Bangladesh after all. Similarly, we should have finished off Sri Lanka in lesser than 200, after the decent start. In fact, how could we let a Bermuda batsman take 76 off us? Where is really our great bowling skill? It is in this department that Sri Lanka score over India. With guys like Vaas and Murali leading, and extremely decent options in Malinga, Fernando and Jayasuriya, they are much better placed.

Indian cricket appears to be going the hockey way. Of course, in cricket, unlike hockey, we never ‘ruled’. But like in hockey, where we kept focusing on the brilliant talent that we had, but never on strategy to win, similarly in cricket, we may hold all the individual records and have the highest averages and aggregates, but when it comes to winning games, we will be left behind. We are not focusing on the winning strategies and not executing at the individual levels.

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