What went so terribly wrong? Every Indian cricket fan worth his salt was expecting fireworks from Team India. Expectations were so high that all other teams were being reviewed with disdain in comparison to the might of Indian team. The just concluded IPL-2 was very heartening for the fans. Display of power and finesse by Indian players at IPL-2 on foreign soil gave the fans enough reason to rejoice. There was a feeling that Indian players were peaking just at the right moment for T20 World Cup. IPL-2 was a platform which provided them with the right kind of match practice. IPL-2 was supposed to be a boon in disguise.
So how come the Indian team fared so badly at T20 World Cup? Did match fatigue creep in or was it just another example of absence of proper game plan. My guess is that it was both and much more. Such pathetic performance cannot be attributed to any single factor. The performance that we witnessed can be achieved with the help of a slew of factors. In a random order I will now try and list out some of the factors which accounted for such a debacle :-
- Year 2009 so far has been jam packed with international cricketing events. There have been many international series played by India leading up to IPL-2. That took a heavy toll on players, so much so that some players were not fully available for IPL-2 due to injuries.
- Then came IPL-2 and the rigorous regime of cricket. Prolonged packed schedule, back to back games, packed stadium and hysteria building exercises demanded that much extra from each Indian player. The result was that the Indian players were a spent force by the time they entered World Cup arena.
- Half the Indian team, including the skipper, were not 100% match fit as per the report submitted by team Physio to BCCI before the selection of the team. However BCCI chose to ignore the report and went ahead with selecting even injured players. The outcome of such a decision is there for all to see.
- Indian team entered the World Cup arena with the mistaken belief that they were invincible. This mindset has been the outcome of hype created by all of us. As Indians we have a tendency to get carried away and the players are no different. The swagger of most players as they entered World Cup arena was a telltale sign. Game plan was the last thing on their mind. In their mind they had already won the World Cup and we are all responsible for that particular state of mind. Each team had to be tackled with particular strategies targeting their weaknesses. No such effort was visible from Indian team while teams like England and South Africa exhibited the same in abundance.
Pity of all this is that there is a feeling of deja vu in this crushing defeat at T20 World Cup. It is as if we have been through this kind of situation 'n' number of times before. Everything feels so very familiar. The inconsistency of Indian Cricket is now a folklore. If anything, we must address this inconsistency before we start making heroes out of ordinary mortals. Time again for some serious brain storming at BCCI! All the very best BCCI!! Hope this time around you can find a lasting solution.