Thursday, May 13, 2010

World T20 - India Review

This post is related only to the performance of the Men in Blue. The Women in Blue have performed along expected lines. Tonight they take on Australia in the semi-finals. Australia would seem to be the favourites here but it won't be very surprising if India wins tonight.
Now for the Men's team.
One week back everyone was going ga-ga over the team. They had demolished Afghanistan and beaten South Africa in a clinical manner to top the group. India was indeed touted as amongst the favourite for the tournament. However once the Super 8s started, everything went horribly wrong and India lost all 3 games. The same experts are now out baying for the players' and BCCI's blood. And everyone has found their favorite whipping boy in the IPL, blaming the debacle on the parties, the travelling, Lalit Modi etc for the fiasco in the Caribbean. Being an armchair critic I can also blame the IPL. But I don't really think that is the main reason for the poor performance. Everyone should remember that India performed fairly well at the start of the tournament. And the bad performances began only after the team had had a 5 day gap between the matches.
We should simply admit that Indian team was simply just not good enough. And the others were better on the day. Here are some reasons for the poor performance
Poor Fielding : The dropped catches hurt. We dropped Gayle a couple of times early and he nearly hit a hundred which turned out to be the key difference against the West Indies.
Inability to play Short Pitched Bowling: Too much has been written about it and unfortunately its true. Our batsmen can't handle the short pitched stuff. This was exposed very early in the IPL also (specially by RCB). And given that the fast bowlers bowl only 4 overs, they can come in and hit the deck real hard. And here all batsmen are to blame.
Fast Bowling: India just does not have any decent pace bowlers. The best ones were taken to West Indies. And Praveen & Zaheer picked injuries there. But do we have any real options here. During the IPL, everyone got hit and badly. Ishant, Irfan, Balaji, Sreesanth, Munaf, Tyagi. Only Umesh Yadav was fast. Apart from that our fast bowling stocks are pretty weak.
Team Selection: Going by the performances in the IPL, Uthappa, Ojha, Mishra, Kohli should have been in the team. (Sachin & Kumble ideally should also have been there, but their case is different). The highest run-getter, the person with the most sixes (who also can be back-up keeper), the top 2 wicket takers in the IPL, all were missing. And we played only 2 seam bowlers in fast bouncy Barbados.
Ravindra Jadeja: Poor Guy. Banned from IPL, so cant blame fatigue. Did'nt want to go on about this guy. But if one person's performance is being blamed for losing in 2 consecutive World Cups, something is wrong. He was termed as an example of an all-round failure (very harsh, but unfortunately true).
So that was the World T20 from the Indian perspective. There were some good performances. Raina showed willingness to stick there and fight it out. Vinay Kumar impressed on debut. Nehra was good in patches as was Rohit. But again nothing much to really talk about in positive light.

And all this after we Indian fans were still hoping for miracles. And working out ways and means to somehow reach the semi-finals. The loss hurts. And everyone will blame something or the other, starting with the players. But don't worry Team India. You have people like me who will definetely watch next time you play.

Looking Forward to
Indian Women's Team semi-final match. You have already performed much better than the men for the 2nd time in a a row. Take it a few steps ahead this time around.
As for the men, India's tour of Zimbabwe under Raina's captaincy.

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