10 Dec. Team India has overtaken South Africa as the ‘new chokers’ in global cricket, notably ICC tournaments. For years, South Africa was criticised for faltering in the knockout stage of World Cups.
The ‘Men in Blue’ have played great bilateral cricket in the last decade, until this year. The Super Stars’ fall under strain in ICC knockout stages.
In 2013, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team won the Champions Trophy by defeating England. Since then, captains, coaches, and players have changed, but Indian supporters haven’t seen India win again.
India lost the 2014 T20 World Cup to Sri Lanka, the 2015 50-over World Cup to Australia, the 2016 T20 World Cup semifinals to West Indies, the 2017 Champions Trophy finals to Pakistan, and the 2019 50-over World Cup semifinals to New Zealand.
The 2021 ICC World Test Championship Finals loss to New Zealand and the 2022 T20 World Cup semifinal loss to England followed.
The 2021 ICC T20 World Cup under Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri was the worst. Even Kapil Dev admitted after the terrible campaign that India can be called chokers following repeated ICC tournament failures.
“They’re chokers. OK. They choke, “Kapil Dev stated after India’s 10-wicket loss to Pakistan.
After 2021, Indian cricket fans had great hopes for new skipper Rohit Sharma, given his IPL credentials, but he seemed under tremendous pressure and clueless when England’s Jos Buttler and Alex Hales hammered the Indian bowlers in the semifinal.
WHAT HURTS INDIA IN ICC KNOCKOUTS?
India’s defeat could be due to poor team selection, a timid attitude, fear of failure, performance pressure, or a lack of big-match temperament/self-belief.
Most cricket experts believe India’s lack of fearlessness hinders them in ICC events despite their talent. India’s conservative cricket may be due to players’ desire to keep their spots.
Due to the IPL and domestic cricket over the last decade, players must be on their A-game to make the team. They prefer a risk-free, archaic form of cricket.
High fan expectations, in crores, increase pressure to players, who falter. When entering a knockout match after back-to-back losses, players may not be confident.
Too much cricket means players don’t have time to introspect, work on their weaknesses, and get healthier. Mismatched players don’t help either.
England uncovered the cause of their 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup loss in white-ball cricket. They played aggressively and won the 50-over and T20 World Cups.
The BCCI and Indian cricket stakeholders must also examine the situation and make decisive decisions. Within every ICC event, there are talks of severe adjustments to improve performance, but they never happen and things return to normal after two-three months.
The way India is performing gives fans little hope for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup. So, act before it’s too late.