Editorial

India humbled

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/12/2019 12:23:38 PM IST

 India’s quest for a third ICC World Cup Cricket ended with a shocking defeat to New Zealand on July 10 at Old Trafford. Chasing 240 for a place in the final, India lost to New Zealand by 18 runs. To add insult to injury, the underdog Kiwi Black Caps, who came into the match on the back of three straight defeats by Pakistan, Australia and England and only qualified for the semifinals on net run-rate. India came to the semi final after topping the 10-team group stage. The much hyped Indian star team were jolted right from the first initial overs when their top-three batsmen were sent off inside four over. Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and K.L. Rahul flopped with one run apiece. For the last three years, India had dominated teams the world over. Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were on fire. India’s top three batsmen turned into an unstoppable force. This was the main strength of the Indian side but when it mattered, they failed. To start with, India appeared a bit overconfident in the semifinal against New Zealand. The Indian team has an excellent batting line-up, no doubt, and 239 wasn’t a big score on this ground. However, the Indians had to play till the last ball to win. The Indian batting is so strong that before the semifinal, their middle order wasn’t under this kind of pressure at any point in this World Cup. A post-mortem on the below average performance by the star team will only confirm that both the team management including the captain had never seen the team beyond the top three or four batsmen. After Shikar Dhawan was forced out due to injury, the management brought in K.L.Rahul whose batting average was 34.3. However, the problem that dogged the Indian side was in finding the right batsman as No.4. It was clear that poor team selection in the tournament, and before that, their inability to find the batsman for the crucial No. 4 slot proved crucial. Mahinder Singh Dhoni should have been persisted at No.4 but in the semi final he came in at No.7. India had tried out 24 players in the 4-7 slots since the last World Cup. It is not lack of talent so much as a lack of judgement. There were several contenders for the slot such as - Manish Pandey, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and Shreyas Iyer. All these batsmen were tried and dropped as India sought to address their middle-order woes. When put under pressure, India’s top battling line up failed. It happened in the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan in 2017 also, when they had lost a few wickets at the top. After the top three batsmen were gone, the Indians didn’t know what to do and they became desperate and confused. In the end, India paid the price for their soft under-belly in the middle order, their lack of imagination in selection. How the Indian team management failed to utilise the potential was evident when Ravindra Jadeja was picked only for the semi final. Ravindra Jadeja was never picked up in the earlier seven matches but in the semi final, his knock of 77 off 59 balls against the Kiwis nearly got the Indians home. The lesson is - India had the stars, New Zealand had the team.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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