India need a rejig; just what England did in 2015
India perhaps need a change after WC exit [Source: Associated Press]
What's common between India's exit from the 2022 T20 World Cup and England getting humiliated by Bangladesh in 2015? Well, the answer is simple - both the teams needed an identity check.
We often use the word 'intent' when talking about the shortest format of the game, and that very intent was missing when I was watching India's campaign in the T20 World Cup. It was pain-staking to watch the 'undeadly' duo of Rohit-Rahul struggle to score runs in the powerplay.
Old habits die hard, and the adage was truly reflected in Team India's outdates approach, especially in the power-play. The top-three batters played a conservative cricket in the powerplay and that perhaps hurt the Indian side.
Skipper Rohit Sharma had a strike-rate of 94.73 in the powerplay, while his opening partner KL Rahul struggled even more with a strike-rate of 89.47. Now arguably India's best batter in the tournament, Virat Kohli too had a defensive approach, scoring runs at a rate of just 98.73.
When India were eliminated from the T20 World Cup in 2021, questions were raised on team India's tactics and a new captain-coach duo was formed. Optimism was there when Rahul Dravid joined India's coaching setup and Rohit Sharma became the Indian captain. A lot was promised by the new looked Indian team, but they failed to deliver on the grandest stage of them all.
It is strange because India played aggressive brand of cricket in the bilateral series leading upto the World Cup, but that aggression perhaps went missing when Men in Blue landed in Australia.
Yes, we reached the semi-finals, but at what cost? We barely defeated Pakistan (thanks to a Virat Kohli masterclass), defeated minnows Netherlands and Zimbabwe, bowed down in front of South Africa and Bangladesh almost pulled off a miracle against us. And finally the honeymoon phase was over when Buttler-Hales storm blew us away in some style.
It has almost been a week since India got eliminated in the World Cup and I had some time to reflect on what really transpired. There are two school of thoughts here. One says change the whole team, bring in a new dynamism, bring in new energy and go all out against every opposition. The other school of thought says don't change the team, but focus on the 'intent.'
I personally feel it's time for a massive overhaul in Indian cricket (at-least in T20 format). India can learn from what England did in 2015.
It was the World Cup year, but there was something strange happening in England. The fans had no hopes from their side, and they were proven right when Bangladesh created the biggest upset of the tournament by eliminating the Three Lions from the World Cup.
But more than their elimination, England's brand of cricket was put to question by the cricketing experts. They played a brand of ODI cricket which was accepted in the 90's
Any other team would have been down and out after such a humbling, but England had their own redemption story after that. They made a blueprint - to play an aggressive brand of cricket never seen before.
The England team management got rid off the senior players like James Anderson, Stuart Broad, and Ian Bell who were not the perfect fit for the new England scheme of things. Fresh faces were roped in and the result was quite evident.
They reached the semis of the T20 World Cup in 2016, came close in the Champions Trophy the following year, but were again eliminated in the semis, but finally, all the hard-work was paid off when the Eoin Morgan led side were crowned the champions at the 2019 World Cup.
But you know why they won the World Cup?
It was because they had a trust in their process and backed each and every player to come good. Now if we talk about the 2022 season, England's most successful skipper Eoin Morgan had a massive dip in his form and what did he do? He decided to retire. Morgan realised that he is becoming a burden for his side and stepped back to nurture the youngsters.
The result - England prepared Jos Buttler as the new skipper and they went onto win the T20 World Cup for the second time.
Maybe it is time for the Indian senior pros to step back from the shortest format of the game. Not saying this would work for us, but I certainly feel we need a change. Maybe the injection of fresh faces, hungry cricketers can steer us towards a positive path in T20 cricket.