From experts to fans, they all believed that India is going to lift the trophy this time around. They entered the tournament as favourites and had almost all the boxes ticked because the team had some productive batsmen, bowlers and fielders. Fast bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and spinners like Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja uplifted Indian team to the top three bowling lineups. In fact, India is the only team that had every possible variety of bowlers present in their team at the world cup and India's batting is rarely a problem. The stats backed the claims of cricket experts as India entered the world cup with two of its batsmen topping the run-scoring charts in past four years. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma with 4749 and 4438 runs are the two top batsmen in world cricket in the past four years. With a middle-order consisting of one of the greatest finisher ever, Mahindra Singh Dhoni and modern-day sloggers like Hardik Pandya, India looked like a team to beat.
Where they finished?
India was knocked out by New Zealand in the first semifinal. They topped the league table with 15 points winning 7 of their 8 completed games. Their game against New Zealand in the league phase was washed out.
What went wrong?
They missed a solid batsman at number 4. Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the tournament with a broken wrist as he copped a deadly bouncer from Pat Cummins in the game against Australia. Although he went on to score a ton against the Aussies leading India to victory, later the scans revealed that he has a fracture which ended his campaign after just two games. KL Rahul was trusted for the role of a number 4 had to move up the order to open with Rohit Sharma. India failed to use Kedar Jadhav properly either. They bought in Rishabh Pant as a replacement for Shikhar Dhawan and tested him at no.4 but the experiment did not work in favour of India. Pant could manage only 116 runs innings at an average of 29. Vijay Shankar was used in some games at the position but he finished with an exactly similar average as that of Pant. He got injured just before the semifinal which forced India to tweak further with their lineup.
Player who disappointed the most
In a campaign where India lost just two games, you can't say that there's any player who disappointed. In fact, India had a lot of options for every position and every player who got an opportunity did what was expected from them. India probably needed a few more wickets from Kuldeep Yadav whose 6 wickets came at an average of 56.16. Twelve months ago when he made his first trip to England with men in blue, he finished with 9 wickets in 3 games. He even forced the English batsmen to practice against 'Merlyn', a simulator bowling machine.
There were a lot of bright spots for team India at the tournament. In fact, apart from a decent number 4, they rarely had any problems. One of the brightest spots for India at the tournament was Mohammed Shami's bowling. He began his ODI career with a bang and was in contention to become quickest to 100 wickets but after the 2015 world cup, his limited over bowling skills faded a bit. The off-field drama affected his game but he recovered from the mess like a champion. Shami grabbed every opportunity thrown at him and he forced the experts to discuss why he did not get more games. His 14 wickets came an unbelievable average of 13.78 in just 4 games which were best among bowlers who got 5 or more wickets. Who knows, had he got more chances he might have left Mitchell Starc behind in the bowling charts? His strike rate of 15 was best for any bowler who bowled more than 10 overs at the world cup.
What's next for them?
With the kind of a squad India have got, don't be surprised if India rules the world cricket for the next 6-8 years. Most of the Indian players who played this world cup are going to play the 2023 world cup as well. India has a young squad with most of the players in their early or late twenties. India needs to find a replacement for M.S.Dhoni who might retire by 2020 and the players like Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson are waiting for their turn. They need to sort out the number 4 problem but don't be surprised if Rishabh Pant makes his own place in the coming years.
More articles: Cricket
There were some phenomenal performances by the Indian cricket team in the WC 2019 although they lost semis against New Zealand. Rohit Sharma was the focal point in the tournament with five centuries. There were some amazing performances by other players as well; Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Buhmra played great cricket. Who would forget the commendable innings of Jadeja against Newzealand? He brought it so close with his fine display of talent. Unfortunately, India lost that game and all their dreams to qualify for semis were dashed!
Only a bad day for India with slight mistakes cost them the match, otherwise, India played good cricket throughout the tournament.
India is still the best team I feel. But they failed in lifting the cup this time due to many reasons which were beyond their control.
1. The toss went against them and nature played havoc. This always happens and we can't say the team is responsible for the loss.
2. Injuries. Dhawan was not available because of injury. This made the Indian team to promote Rahul to the opening slot.
3. Shami was not considered for the semifinal match.
4. Our players show their potency well when the openers do a good job. But in the semi-final match, all the important wickets were lost very early.
5. The young players couldn't play properly in adverse conditions. The coach never trained them mentally to be bold and play their own game without any fear and by selecting proper shots for the balls.
6. Senior players might have given more thought of a selection of shots but they went for the wrong shots.
7. Dhoni should have been promoted to the 4th slot in this particular match as the seniors got out cheaply. That might have made a lot of difference.
8. Indians fight when it is not very essential but they give up easily when it is very essential to fight.
These are some points which made our country to lose the semifinal match. The think tank should think on these lines and strengthen the team. The coach should be proactive.
Good coverage of the Indian team in this world cup and you have covered up the positive and negative aspects of our team. It is right that we had big expectations from our team and to be frank, this was the first world cup where team India was the front runner. Otherwise, we were always in the yes or no position. We played well and had the all-round performance but few wrong decisions took us out from winning the cup. Some of the points that I would like to mention are:
1. Why do our Team always depend on a single player? Our top order did not contribute on that day and so also the others. It is always taken that if 1 or 2 players don't contribute, our full team shatters. There is no other person who can shoulder the game.
2. Our top 3 batsmen failed to score. It was bad that even Kohli could not play a Williamson's game of controlling the bowling attack despite having the top 2 ICC batting rankers on our side.
3. All players are dependent on others. They cannot stand alone like other teams are having an anchor like Babar (Pakistan), Shakib Al Hasan ( Bangladesh), Taylor(England), Braithwait (WI), etc.
4. Why were Shami and Jadeja not given chance till the end when they had performed well in the warm-up matches?
5. Why only India had 5 bowlers and not a single replacement if one bowler is smashed?
6. India had deep batting order of 8 players in the semis but only 2 or 3 performed on that day.
7. We had 4 overs to bowl on the 2nd day and could understand the swing, bounce or swing from the pitch. Why didn't the best batsmen or coach take notice of the same?