So finally, world cup ended, at least for India, so ek post toh banti hai.
I would not call India’s journey in it as an interesting or boring, but definitely would call it weird.
Let me try to explain why I’m calling it a weird journey –
- After pathetic performance in the preceding test series and ODI tri-series who would have imagined them to reach the semi-finals and how.
- Ask yourself, how confident were you when India played Pakistan in the opener;
- And confess it, despite win against Pakistan, we totally made peace with the fact that we’ll be thrashed left, right and center by South Africa in next one.
- Beating South Africa at their own game, i.e. making good use of large MCG by rotating strike, by converting ones into twos, and running out two of their key players, was not less than a miracle; and in their next game while watching ABVD thrashing WI we truly believed Mohit Sharma should have been given MoM just for his throw which ran out ABVD.
- Then came WI, we lost 6 wickets in chasing 180+ runs, we won mostly because of some sensible batting by Dhoni n Ashwin, and some senseless captaincy by Holder.
- UAE game does not count at all.
- Zimbabwe, Ireland gave some serious scare, especially Taylor’s hitting and Irish opener’s stand. Our bowling looked pedestrian and clueless.
- Then came, QF against B’desh – again it was a serious affair; B’desh was riding high on Mahmudullah’s back to back 100’s and Soumya Sarkar’s Ganguly like flair; they did exceedingly well against England and New Zealand. In QF, we were not 100% sure of the win, it was a pretty even game till one point, India barely managed to win some crucial periods of play (or B’desh lost due to their inexperience and enormity of the situation) and hence the game.
So with all that 70/70, 7-0, and 11 consecutive WC wins hype, we faced the not-so-formidable hosts Australia; though it warrants a post on itself, but I’ll not go in detail, will not bore myself with my own over analysis.
So what went wrong after ‘such-a-strong-showing’?
In reality, nothing new happened, we failed because we failed to acknowledge our problems, or address our problems; in simple straight forward terms we lost because –
- Even after spending 4/5 months in Australia, we still don’t know what to do with STEVE SMITH.
- We still don’t know how to blow away the tail-enders.
- Our tail-enders still don’t know how to hold their ground against a quality opposition.
At one point, when Smith n Maxwell were pummeling everything out of park, score of 370+ seems inevitable, then sudden 3 wicket collapse (Smith/Maxwell/Finch) brought India back in game but we lost the plot thereon, we allowed shoddy and out of form Watson to survive, we allowed Clark to free is arms now and then, even till then score looked manageable, but we committed biggest folly by allowing Faulkner some free runs and finally letting Johnson score 27 off just 9 balls. Such complacency is inexcusable. All the late flourish shifted the whole momentum.
We started the chase well, Rohit and Dhawan had their share of luck early which was again a good omen, but when you’re chasing 325+ you tend to overdo things; with 70+ runs onboard with healthy 6+ RR, again casualness in approach creeped in;
Dhawan’s dismissal is a prime example of that, may be got bored or what, he tried something stupid out of curiosity and picked the only man parked in the deep. Boredom.
Kohli weighed himself down with expectation of whole team and country, he started with out-of-character extremely cautious approach and played a maiden over.
And in very next over, he suddenly realized he is 'THE KOHLI' and he needs to exude that and try to dominate Johnson. As a result he played an expensive shot which was not there. Overconfidence.
Rohit was best at being Rohit, scored an effortless 6 and got bowled effortlessly next ball. Casualness.
Let’s not get more into it, but before I stop, one last thing, Dhoni is not a magician; he cannot think for every guy; he needs a stronger supporting cast during ‘strategizing’ he alone cannot do it all. He needs better support from guys like Raina/Ashwin/Kohli/Jadeja.
And guys like Jadeja need to rise themselves, they have talent, they should NOT be content with their current situation; Steve Smith and Maxwell are prime example, how these guys raised their games season after season and became best batsman after starting their career at no. 7/8.
Anyways, finally the weirdness has ended; started with low expectations, and reached unreasonably higher expectations, and crashed down expectedly but crashed down in a manner that made it look unacceptable.
Hopefully, guys will learn from this roller coaster experience and will become better in the times to come.