Cricket

Fans asked for the dream of 2007, getting the nightmare instead

An India fan arrives at the stadium prior to the T20 World Cup match between India and New Zealand on October 31, 2021 in Dubai.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

At the beginning of the T20 World Cup — when the euphoria of the Yellow Brigade regaining the IPL was still strong — loyal worshippers of the Men in Blue were anticipating a repeat of 2007 come November 14.

No doubt the fans are experiencing 2007, but not the one they had hoped for.

Humiliation

Instead of reliving the dream of the inaugural World Twenty in September 2007, they are going through the nightmare of March 2007, when India crashed out of the league stage of the ODI World Cup in the West Indies.

Back then, Rahul Dravid’s boys were knocked out after losing to Sri Lanka in the last game of a pool of four. Cut to 2021, India seems to be virtually out of contention for the semifinals following two humiliating defeats.

As a result, India’s campaign is in danger of ending with the league stage on November 8.

Remote chances

There still is a remote possibility — winning the remaining games by big margins and other results going its way — of making the semifinals, but it appears to be rather far-fetched or merely something to keep statisticians interested.

No doubt Pakistan and New Zealand deserve all credit for the way they devised plans and, more importantly, executed them.

But the manner in which India — especially the batters — threw in the towel raises multiple questions.

Wider discussions about workload management, bubble fatigue, thrust on all-format specialists and administrators’ approach, etc are bound to happen.

But let’s keep them aside for another week.

India still has to complete the tournament, and hopefully win the remaining three games to give fans some reason to cheer.

Exposed

The two games exposed the fears of many about the squad composition and choice of the XI.

India’s preferred top three — Rohit Sharma, K.L. Rahul and Virat Kohli — like to give themselves a few balls before unleashing their strokes.

But batting yourself in has become a luxury in T20 cricket. In a format that has been evolving with every passing year, India seems to be stuck in a time warp.

Despite tweaking the opening combination, India appeared to be indecisive in its approach after being asked to bat.

None of the top four tried to unsettle the bowlers. Neither could they get off to a flier nor set the foundation for a late flourish.

Recipe for disaster

The top four on Sunday scored a combined 45 runs off 55 balls. It turned out to be a recipe made for disaster, one that will haunt the team — and the fans — for years.


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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 4:49:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/fans-asked-for-the-dream-of-2007-getting-the-nightmare-instead/article37294250.ece

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