Team India’s white ball squad would have to rebuild with fresh ideas and specialist cricketers and coaches
An over-rated, under-performing Team India were given the beating of their lives by England in the T20 World Cup semi-final in Adelaide, Australia. Conservative performances in the batting and bowling powerplays saw them beaten out of sight by an opening stand of 170 featuring the creativity of the resurrected white ball opener Alex Hales and the canny skipper Jos Buttler.
Team India, who love to dwell on every word and deed of their highly paid superstars, were handed lessons on how outdated their conservative methods are in modern T20 cricket. Having stuck to virtually the same combination of aging top order batsmen, ineffective pace bowlers and venerable spinners in most formats for a few years now, they were shown how specialists with focus on the white ball game play in this format that calls for fearless contributions to the team cause.
Team India’s average strike rate in the six overs of powerplay were better than only the UAE’s in the T20 World Cup. However well they recovered from the slow and steady 62 runs in the first 10 overs thanks to Hardik Pandya’s heroics balancing Virat Kohli’s fluent but anchoring effort, they could post only a below-par 168 in 20 overs on a splendid, even and true Adelaide Oval pitch. Hales and Buttler had virtually settled the issue in their powerplay, making 63 runs in spectacular style, playing all possible attacking strokes.
As the Indian bowlers wilted, so too did the fielding, including in a comical relay throw that led to an all-run four. The sheer amateurishness of the collective effort saw England take every advantage to meet the target without even the fear of losing a wicket. The T-20 game has moved on so much that Team India are in fear of becoming like the Brazilian football team – full of frenzied fans, whipped up expectations by a fawning sports media and millions of dollars in the bank accounts of the stars but no World Cup to show for it.
Truth to tell, only Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah may qualify to play in future white ball games while Virat Kohli can be left to decide on when he will call it a day in frenetic cricket. Team India’s white ball squad would have to rebuild with fresh ideas and specialist cricketers and coaches who can think from out of the box. Otherwise, Team India would be doomed to lachrymose captains saddled with the hopelessness of leading non-performers.