India Out Of Twenty20 World Cup

Kind of awful, no? For whatever reason, though, I hadn’t expected India to win this time around, if only because lightning doesn’t strike twice in the Twenty20 version. The team also didn’t seem as settled or threatening as they were in 2007. I’m sure their long IPL stints and Sehwag’s absence did not help.

I’m also sure Dhoni’s captaincy will receive a fair amount of criticism. For a few years now, Dhoni has enjoyed a charmed life in the Indian media, which has generally hailed the man’s calm demeanor, “versatile” batting and innovative tactics. I think Dhoni understood he could afford to lose certain things — the Asia Cup, for instance, or the Twenty20s against New Zealand — without provoking too much fuss, as long as he won the big things (Australia, Pakistan, home series).

But I doubt he’ll get away with a Super 8 loss in the World Cup. A semi-final loss would have been more palatable, but those muted concerns about his Chennai Super Kings IPL defeat may grow louder now. I’m not sure why. He couldn’t foresee Sehwag’s injury and while Rohit Sharma more than adequately filled the hole, he left another one in the middle-order which, for whatever reason, Dhoni couldn’t plug himself.

As for Ravindra Jadeja coming in at No. 4, I’d say Jadeja did amazing things in the IPL for the Rajasthan Royals and could have easily done the same against England. It’s important to remember Dhoni has previously put in new players in pressure situations, like Joginder Sharma and Praveen Kumar, whom he used to telling effect against the Australians and in the South African Twenty20. (He also won much praise for the move.) So, who knows? Perhaps he hoped the English would be thrown off at the sight of Jadeja rather than Singh. Even if it didn’t pan out, I don’t think it’s a hanging offense for a captain.

Why did India lose then? I can only think of two reasons, one ancient and one novel: first, India’s longtime batting bugaboo — the fast-paced short ball — returned to haunt the team’s ribs. Say what you want about this new Indian team and its overseas victories, but it is still at the end of the day an Indian team, brought up on Indian wickets and Indian spinners. On the other hand, it’s a young team and I sincerely believe defeats will help it more than victories at this point. Keep your eyes on the prize: the 2011 ODI World Cup.

Secondly, Twenty20 shows no mercy to established teams. I read some diagnoses of Australia’s recent failures in the format, but none of them was particularly convincing. I still share Ricky Ponting’s own bemusement. He said he did everything right; his players have all the talent; his team should have won. Why didn’t they? Who knows? This is the nature of the beast: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Indian fans should note their team won the last Twenty20 cup by the barest of margins against a team I still don’t think deserved to reach that far.

And even now, Sri Lanka — one of the best teams still in the running — may not reach the semi-finals, even though it has won every match played. The final should be SL v. SA, and SA should win (for once). But it may just as well be England v. New Zealand. This isn’t to say some teams aren’t better than others, or that Twenty20 doesn’t reward merit. Sometimes it does, but sometimes it just doesn’t. Fickle format, as they say.

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6 thoughts on “India Out Of Twenty20 World Cup

  1. Q says:

    Fickle for sure.. no one expected Pakistan and India to reach the final in 2007 and I suspect that the finalists this year will also be a surprise.. such is T20, which I think is the reason why the format is quite exciting.

    SL are in the same position as SA were in 2007 – the best team on show, won all their games, but 1 bad game can throw them out.

    Regarding Jadeja.. he has a lot of potential no doubt but there’s 1 thing he failed to do in the IPL this year – close matches. Rajasthan had several failed chases this year and though Jadeja scored in those, he didn’t score fast enough. Same happened here.

  2. Dhoni’s Captaincy can be excused, things just did not work for him, but his batting really was bizarre. When required rate was about 12, he was taking singles to give Yusuf Pathan strike. When RR is < 10 you can deploy the technique of big hitting from one end. A RR of 13 requires power hitting from both ends.

  3. Samir Chopra says:

    Dhoni’s batting was indeed bizarre. Look at the shot he played off the last ball of the Indian innings; it was the only time he attempted a boundary shot.

  4. […] Ducking Beamers: Why did India lose then? I can only think of two reasons, one ancient and one novel: first, India’s longtime batting bugaboo — the fast-paced short ball — returned to haunt the team’s ribs. […] Secondly, Twenty20 shows no mercy to established teams. Will Luke: A year ago, I don’t think you’d have accepted a captain suggesting to your team “let’s bounce them out”, even if that team is particularly inept at playing short-pitch bowling. If anything, Twenty20 encourages orthodoxy as much as unorthodoxy. Arm Ball: MS is a natural victim for criticism. And people would be ridiculous in criticising him. They would blame him why was DK not played. May be media would reel him. “Luck and honeymoon” have ended for him. But still he remains the best man to lead India. […]

  5. Star cricket says:

    Some poor planning made India out of the contest. Its a good team but needs some careful planning. The batsmen were sent in wrong orders which resulted in knowck out.

  6. India did not played upto their potential and Dhoni’s terrible captaincy just added upto the pressure. I think this suggests that their are no favourites in T20.

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