Heartbreak Like 1996 WC, But India Did Not Deserve WT20 Finale

Much like the 1996 campaign in 2016 too, India were riding on individual brilliance to carry the team through.

Updated
Sports
3 min read
MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya. (Photo: Reuters)
Snapshot
  • India’s World T20 semi-final loss to West Indies at Mumbai was as heartbreaking as the 1996 World Cup semi-final loss to Sri Lanka.
  • But overall much like the 1996 campaign in 2016 too, India were riding on individual brilliance to carry the team through.
  • With the pitch being a featherbed at Mumbai, Indian think-tank should have looked at Mohammed Shami or Pawan Negi as the replacement for an injured Yuvraj Singh.

It not a April Fool’s prank. India is heartbroken as their beloved cricket squad is out of the title bout in the ICC World Twenty20. But if you do a dispassionate analysis of the the team’s showing you will realise that India did not deserve a place in the final.

Much Like 1996 CWC

It was very much a performance like the 1996 World Cup when India, as co-host, were knocked out in the now famous semi-final at Eden Gardens. Then it was the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble who led the charge. This time 20 years later it was about Virat Kohli and Ashish Nehra. There were of course some contributions from MS Dhoni, Jasprit Bumrah and to some extent Yuvraj Singh too.

But overall much like the 1996 campaign in 2016 too we were riding on individual brilliance to carry us through. But the truth is tournaments of this nature are usually won on the back of solid team effort. That is what the 2007 World Twenty20, 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy wins, all under Dhoni, showed.

The Indian team is dejected after losing the World T20 semi-final to West Indies. (Photo: AP)
The Indian team is dejected after losing the World T20 semi-final to West Indies. (Photo: AP)

Patchy Campaign

Right through the tournament, India seemed to huff and puff their way to the semi-final. There was never an easy passage for India and that proved to be their undoing.

There were suddenly changes for the semi-final, some forced and some by choice, in the personnel. Overall, India looked no match for the West Indies. We must remember that this West Indies line-up hardly plays together in any other format.

When India tours West Indies for Test matches in July, not more than three from this line-up will be part of that series. So, this was a purpose built squad which had come together just for this tournament. They were better than India in a number of aspects. Most importantly, West Indies were better in the boundary hitting ability.

Few New Learnings
India’s new opener, Ajinkya Rahane, consumed 35 balls for his 40. That is usually considered a big consumption of deliveries in this format. Then their lead spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was not used for his full quota of overs.

With the pitch being a featherbed, Indian think-tank ought to have looked at Mohammed Shami or Pawan Negi as the replacement for an injured Yuvraj. This way the bowling would have been strengthened.

Also with dew being a factor, Shami would have meant that Nehra could have been used more effectively by Dhoni. What happened was Manish Pandey did not bat and cannot bowl, so he was left to riding the boundary at most times.



With the pitch being a featherbed, Indian think-tank ought to have looked at Mohammed Shami or Pawan Negi as the replacement for an injured Yuvraj. (Photo: Reuters)
With the pitch being a featherbed, Indian think-tank ought to have looked at Mohammed Shami or Pawan Negi as the replacement for an injured Yuvraj. (Photo: Reuters)

Time to Build Afresh

This World T20 is now history and the time to build for the next one scheduled for 2020 in Australia started last night itself. But the overall focus of the limited-overs squad will be on ODI cricket. First up is the 2017 Champions Trophy and then the 2019 World Cup (both in England).

Focus on ODI cricket
A lot of the players - Yuvraj, Harbhajan Singh, Nehra and Suresh Raina - in the T20 squad will not feature in ODI cricket. It is time to build a new ODI and a separate T20I squad has begun. India should take heart from the idea of building a customised T20I squad which was the project of 2016 by the national selectors.

The selectors brought together a squad just for the period of January-March 2016, with players irrespective of their age for the specific purpose of playing World Twenty20.

It may therefore be advisable to build these two separate squads with fresh legs, fresh ideas under possibly one leader.

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