Hat-trick of dismal shows at World T20 calls for a young & hungry India
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When, as the owner of the world's most lucrative league, you fail to make the semi-final of the World T20 three times in a row (in three years, if I may add!), it is not merely time to berate or to ignore. It is time to worry, to analyse and to plan. In that order. Not everyone can be proactive but it would be criminal not to be reactive either.
The one great joy to me from this World T20 was that the bowlers are back. As the more exploited species, they have had to be more inventive and while the conditions may have had much to do with it, it was the spinners that led the way. We knew about Saeed Ajmal and Sunil Narine but a little Akila Dananjaya emerged and I was particularly impressed with Raza Hasan of Pakistan who was thrown the ball at big moments and seemed unfazed. Meanwhile Dale Steyn and Lasith Malinga continued to lead their attacks, Steven Finn and Umar Gul continued to look good and Australia can be very excited by Mitchell Starc.
There isn't an Indian in that list. While you could say that India bowled out the opposition in 4 games out of 5, there wasn't a bowler there the opposition would secretly fear facing. And when eleven players were on the field, there wasn't one in the dug-out the captain would wish was out there with him. Worse, if the captain looked at score-sheets of matches played in India he wouldn't find someone there who could be hopping mad at being left out.
And I really wish he didn't take a look at the scores from the Challenger, a tournament that in any case has no need to exist. In four matches you had 356, 328, 307, 335 and 331 scored. Three innings of over 150 were played. You didn't have to be in Rajkot to understand that the bowlers didn't have a lawyer pleading their case in the batsman's tribunal. Another season has started and the message going out to bowlers is: strap on those pads and see if you have a future. What those scores also make abundantly clear is that batsmen weren't threatened. When you bully bowlers you kill their self-esteem but you don't become a better batsman either; you merely have big numbers against your name.