We all read the articles before the Twenty20 tournament that called the series “wide open.” While we didn’t get any minnow upsets, we all know that this format is unpredictable, rewards temporary blips in success (i.e., Shane Watson) and requires a healthy dollop of good luck to prosper. So, yes, India should not have lost as badly as they did against Australia, but I’m more than willing to accept Dhoni’s counterfactual that had the rain not been so bad, they might have trimmed the margin. That seems reasonable to me, and four wins out of five matches can’t be easily dismissed.
On the other hand: I don’t think many Indian cricket fans or cricket critics have adequately come to terms with India’s performance over the past two years. What’s wrong or right with this team? There was little to no introspection after the overseas Test drubbings of 2011, and now inertia seems to be the guiding principle. But urgent problems loom: Gambhir and Sehwag are failing; our fast bowlers have only Zaheer Khan to intimidate (and, for about one over, Irfan Pathan); our middle order is occasionally strong, but we’re not yet sure about Rohit Sharma or Yuvraj Singh (or, in overseas situations, Suresh Raina). Even if we accept that this team performed well in the T20 World Cup, we are still left with several uneasy questions, which no one seems to be able to answer convincingly.
So, is this team good or bad? And another question: Test your conscience — compared to Australia and Pakistan’s performances, do you really believe India deserved to progress to the next stage?