India who had gone in the T20 World Cup as one of the favourites were knocked before reaching the semi-finals and that is a bitter pill to swallow for outgoing captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri.
Before the World Cup, India had won 10 T20 series in a row before they lost to Sri Lanka — where they had send their second-string side — and every cricket pundit had touted them at least to reach the last four. It was not to be.
They will have a new captain for T20 which will be most likely Rohit Sharma, who has won five IPL titles for Mumbai Indians and has a wealth of experience of playing the shortest format. Moreover, India has a new coach in Rahul Dravid, who has not only done wonders for India during his playing days but also as a coach for the Under-19 team and the National Cricket Academy in scouting players.
But with the change in captain and coach, is this enough for India to win the next T20? The next version is in Australia next year but India are not ready yet. . What is important is for India to analyse why — time and again — they have faltered since winning the first T20 in 2007. After that, India have played six more editions and they came in as runners-up in 2014 to Sri Lanka, lost in the semi-finals to West Indies in 2016. Both times India were setting a target and not chasing it. India’s record while chasing has been second to none having won 88 per cent of the matches but when it comes to setting up a target they have been found wanting. Same was the case this year when India were put in by Pakistan and New Zealand and could not post a big total. So the first thing which the team management needs to address is how do India get better when setting a target?
Secondly, India’s engine room lies in the top three batsman — be it a selection of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli. Whenever they fail, India’s middle order has more often than not collapsed to take the team out of the woods. India will have to identify those players who have the temperament who can absorb the pressure when the top order fails and deliver it when the chips are down.
Lastly India needs to find an able all-rounder to step up for Hardik Pandya as he — of late — has not been fit and not able to bowl consistently. India need to find one before the next World Cup. Time and again, India plays five bowlers and if one bowler has a bad day, they seem to struggle.
India have all the fire power — it’s just that it needs to be identified and used properly or else they might again face another heartbreak.