After yesterday’s drubbing at the hands of New Zealand, India’s exit from the T20 World Cup is now a matter of wait. With things going horribly wrong as the Indian batters collapsed like a house of cards in front of the mighty Kiwi batting, there were a lot of speculations about the fact that did India leave a couple of players behind who could have created a significant impact.
Once your team starts losing, the dissections intensify and many unwanted reasons come to the fore that was better buried. As a matter of fact, even with the winners, the flaws remain but with the glamorous silverware and the glory that follows, they simply fizzle away in the rusty clicks of time.
Even before the tournament started, the fate of the IPL matches very clearly insinuated that the toss will be a determining factor in the tournament with the dew playing a pivotal role. Sadly, for Kohli, the fortunes were never in his favour. However, the knowledge of the fact that the games will be turned on their heads if you lose the toss, played absolutely zero part in the team selection.
From dropping the axe on Dhawan and Chahal way too early, the inclusion of Ishan Kishan came as a surprise with KL Rahul already being the backup wicketkeeper. Even there were words of Gaikwad getting a nod with his sublime showdown since the very last season in UAE but the talented Chennai opener didn’t make the final cut.
In this story, we will try and figure out three cricketers that India left behind in their failed pursuit of another ICC event. Ever since that 2013 Champions Trophy triumph, India has failed miserably in all ICC events and Kohli and Shastri have done very little to alter the fortunes. Now that the team is under the scanner, the captain and the coach have failed to speak up about the glaring fiasco in UAE.
#1 Venkatesh Iyer
Kolkata Knight Riders who were mere cattle-fodder in the opening phase emerged as the finalists of the tournament after a magical turnaround starring the sublime Venkatesh Iyer. The dynamic left-hander turned the tournament on its heels after being an attacker of the ball ever since the word go. He showcased extraordinary aggression against pace, something that left India reeling in agony, may it be of Shaheen Afridi or Adam Milne. Even on tracks where the ball apparently started slowing down, Iyer showcased some exemplary classics.
Given the injury of Hardik Pandya and his limited bowling availability, Iyer was also a viable medium-fast bowler and eked out decent figures against formidable batters. If you remember the opening edition of the tournament where Dhoni made a few astonishing picks in the form of Joginder Sharma and Rohit Sharma who was not even tested in the shortest format of the game, they contributed significantly in their own way. Maybe Iyer will still need a couple more IPL’s to make the big breakthrough but the quality that he has shown on difficulty tracks in both the domestic tournaments and IPL could have been a deciding factor in his inclusion in the squad.
#2 Yuzvendra Chahal
After an ordinary first phase in the IPL, Chahal managed to claim 14 wickets in the last eight games of the annual extravaganza. It is well known to everyone that surfaces in UAE are slow and offer some fantastic movement to the spinners. India opted to go with Varun Chakravarthy, Rahul Chahar, Ashwin and Jadeja for their turning department. Despite miraculous performances in the second phase of the tournament including some impactful contributions against bigger teams, Chahal was left in the shade.
Talking about mystery spinners, he is one of the finest customers for India and his preceding expertise in the Indian colours would have played a pivotal role in shaping the fortunes of the Indian team. In a match where Jadeja and Chakravarthy struggled to trouble the Pakistani batters who are excellent players of spin, the need of the hour for India was someone who could produce unorthodoxy. That is where Chahal would have come in with his ecstatic mix of speed and a very stringent line and length to trouble the batters. More importantly, unlike other notable monikers of the Indian cricket team, he was a man in form.
#3 Shikhar Dhawan
Whenever there is an ICC event, you simply cannot make the mistake of dropping Gabbar aka Shikhar Dhawan. The man averages a whopping 53.70 in 50-over World Cups, 51.08 in Asia Cup and 77.88 in Champions Trophy. He hasn’t played many games in the shortest version of the World Cup but if someone deserved a chance to be in the playing XI after a blistering showdown in the recently concluded IPL, it was Shikhar Dhawan.
He pulled off a few fine knocks for the Capitals as he racked up scores of 42 against the Sunrisers, 24 against KKR, 39 against the Super Kings, 43 against the Challengers and 36 against Kolkata. He never seemed in a rush and made very few errors on the most difficult tracks to bat. The experience that he brings along with himself would have allowed the likes of Rohit, Rahul and Kohli to play those titanic strikes at one end while he dropped anchor at the other. Now that the hopes of making the semis are virtually over, maybe India would take some time and ponder that where exactly did they go wrong. Maybe the inclusion of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Harshal Patel would have also begged questions but as of now, we would stick to three.