Team India: Down and Out of the T20 World Cup Semis

Team India crashed out of the T20 World Cup. Dhoni and his boys have gone from being superstars to failed stars overnight. Here are some thoughts on Why India failed and some possible solutions.

Players Hiding Injuries

Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan were not fully fit for this T20 World cup. Between the BCCI, the team management and the players themselves, their lack of fitness was allowed to be overlooked. There should an investigation, followed by some firings. The players themselves must be banned from playing for India for a year. In this day and age, with so much financial benefits (among other things) at stake, the players and all those involved need to be strongly reminded that hiding injuries is simply not acceptable and will be dealt with in very harsh terms.

Dhoni’s Growing Pains

After a successful honeymoon period, India’s Midas man who has never captained a team before he earned the most demanding job in world cricket, seems to be suffering from growing pains. After he stepped into the job, he phased out the seniors, brought in young blood, and led from the front with impressive personal performances. Unfortunately, like most players he seems to have hit a lean patch in his batting of late. His team failed to make the final of the IPL. Many youngsters around him have started performing better than he himself. His aggressive out of the box moves have started to fail more often than succeed. His cool and calm at the post-match interviews has been replaced by irritability, annoyance and other such emotions.

The fact remains that Dhoni had an excellent team on paper but it fizzled on the field. Its all part of Dhoni growing up on the job. Thus far he has shown great talent, skill and the resolve needed to make a very good captain. At the same time he has shown fleeting signs of insecurity (promoting himself ahead of other in form players a la Dada), desperation to prove his point (playing the same team for the last match against SA despite being a turning track), and the rumored clash with Viru and its aftermath (a PR fiasco raising more questions than providing answers). However, it would be foolish and premature for India to pressurize him or even contemplate replacing him in the short term.

Player Rotation

Gary Kirsten was probably right when he said the team was tired and exhausted after non-stop cricket over several months. Unfortunately, in this day and age of “fast-buck” cricket, this is no longer a valid excuse. India is bursting at the seams with talent. Manish Pandey, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Dinesh Karthik, Pradeep Sangwan, Abhishek Nayyar, are just a few of the many talented players on the sidelines. There is no reason why the same set of players should be doing the rounds in all forms of the game. Why not have separate teams with a few common players in all forms of the game?