Cricket

Is Team India Staring At A Bleak Future?

Team India and it’s future: They say that every good thing comes to an end and no matter how powerful, how strong, how untenable a force is, it will have to bow down at a certain point in time. The Indian cricket team started a revolution in 2000 after Saurav Ganguly took over the reins of the national team.

They defied the mighty Australians, South Africans, English and most importantly reached the hallowed finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup after a staggering wait of 20 long years. They weren’t just defeated in the finale, but they were crushed and humiliated.

After four years of this agonizing defeat at the hands of a cold-blooded Australian team, who were simply unstoppable, India fared in an even worse manner in the following World Cup, bowing out of the very first round from the CWC. In fact, to make it worse for the Indians, they were in a group that comprised Bangladesh, Bermuda and Sri Lanka. They lost their opening match to Bangladesh while their second defeat came at the hands of Sri Lanka, who would finish as the eventual finalists only to be drubbed by Australia in the finals.

In the same year, things changed after India managed to win the inaugural edition of the ICC tT20 World Cup with a squad that was deemed as young and also the dark horses. They took down the colossal likes of Australia, South Africa, England and Pakistan en route to their glory.

This, however, was just the beginning of an era that will go onto mark the establishment of a dynasty led by an emperor called Mahendra Singh Dhoni. After the remarkable triumph in the T20 World Cup, India’s next big triumph was the conquest of the CB Series Down Under.  All of these incredible victories were an imperative step in prepping India for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011.

When India finally reached the warzone, they were off to a blinding start, thanks to an all-around effort from their players. Despite facing a couple of early impediments, they managed to turn things around strongly and by the time they were done with their expansion, they had a World Cup after 28 years, a Champions Trophy and most importantly, the next king, Virat Kohli.

India put their best foot forward with a slew of cricketers who were relentless, adventurous and was also ingrained with a spirit that would refrain them from capitulating under any given circumstances.

The all-bedecked clique of elites contained the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah and a few more names that will go on to underline India as the most dominant power in cricket throughout the face of the globe.

India’s cricketing legacy has been so wondrous over the past few years that in the glittering antiquity of cricket they were able to conjure a rarity lately by sending two different teams to two nations in order to play two different tournaments. Needless to say but this kind of commitment needs grit and an extraordinary pool of players to choose from that has been given to the Indians by the hallowed IPL.

With all being said and done, there is one major warning that has already been lurking ahead of us and if we take this lightly, India may very well be staring at a steeper descent than we can even anticipate.

India’s latest outings were against New Zealand in the WTC finale, the series against England and the series against Sri Lanka. We will break down a few things for you.

After a successful outing in Australia in the bilateral series that saw them coming home with the Test series and the T20 series, India was jolted to a rude awakening against England in the opening match. A severe batting collapse laced with some intense batting display helped England sweep India clean on their feet.

India staged a strong turnaround in the second Test match, thanks to a rollicking display from Rohit Sharma in the first innings with the bat and the marauding Ashwin with the ball. Sadly, for the others, it was another fiasco. Pant belted out a few blistering strokes but couldn’t build on to his good start.

The second innings for India saw Virat Kohli belting out a spectacular 62 but failed to continue with his momentum. It needed an extraordinary knock from Ravichandran Ashwin to help India stay afloat. It was another batting debacle from the rest of the batters.

Fast forward to the next Test, after bundling out England to a modest 112, India got dismissed for a paltry 149. Once again Rohit Sharma was the solitary savior. Moving to the final Test match of the series, it had to be Sharma again laced with some rocking brilliance from Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar to bail them out of the predicament.

The solitary silver lining for India in this entire series was that they bagged the all-important WTC final berth and also a resurgence of Ravichandran Ashwin. The only two players who have been consistent in the recent outings are Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant.

Against New Zealand in the WTC finale, India crumbled down faster than a house of cards and a match that had a foregone conclusion of a draw labeled over it was won by New Zealand on the last day.

Coming to India’s tour of Sri Lanka, India was off to a blinder with two consecutive victories but things started falling apart in the second game itself. Chasing 276, India’s hopes started dimming out faster than one would expect. Prithvi Shaw, who played a spectacular blitzkrieg in the series opener was back to his mediocre display in the following match. Ishan Kishan was dismissed or very cheap after too many expectations heaped on him.

Manish Pandey, like always was seen comfortable in his ordinary fold. The last three knocks from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Krunal Pandya and Deepak Chahar helped India win the game with a lot of struggle.

The third ODI of the series saw Prithvi firing initially only to throw his wicket away recklessly and Sanju Samson getting off to a start and departing in a manner that made no head and tail at the time of the dismissal.

India managed to win the first T20 match, thanks to a blistering display from SKY again but was shortly at the receiving end from the second game onwards. Back-to-back batting fiascos led India to a place where they simply felt out of the element.

Now with age slowly catching up with Kohli and Sharma, Bumrah being out of form for quite a while now, Shami also heading towards his twilight, the future of Indian cricket somewhere seems to be bleak.

Despite IPL playing a crucial role in shaping up the youngsters, India will have to start working more intensely on their batting if they are to keep the legacy that they have been very patiently building over the span of the last two decades.

Players like Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Chahar who are expected to make it big in the forthcoming future will have to bring out even better characters to stand the grueling test of time.

Though there are still a couple of seasons left in Kohli and company, if we do not start looking at making proper replacements, four to five years down the line, India can very well be on the fringes of mid-table contenders again.

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