After India looked as inconsistent and unbalanced as it could and failed to qualify for the tri-series final in Perth, eyes are set on the upcoming World Cup and particularly India’s performance on foreign soil. An uncertainty over India’s dismal show after losing all matches against Australia and England in the tri-series is a big worry for the Indian side. Well, there are two sides to every coin – either the men in blue concentrated more on the Test format and failed to deliver in One-Day matches or the team lacked consistent batsmen and bowlers. Can the magic of 2011 World Cup be repeated? Let us analyze what to expect from India at the 2015 World Cup, beginning on 14 February.
Will failure at Tri-Series raise the alarm for Team India?
After a wobbly performance at Perth, the team needs to gear up and bounce back at the ICC World Cup. Four days to go, and we will see where we stand.
India is placed in Pool B. India has never been defeated by Pakistan at the World Cup. India and Pakistan will battle it our on 15 February in Adelaide. India will also take on Afghanistan on 17 February and play against South Africa in Melbourne. India can be counted upon when it comes to playing the West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates.
Two long months in Australia followed by a 2-0 loss in the Test series might help the team look at their shortcomings and prepare for the World Cup title. Chances are bleak, looking at the current form. But, Indian fans will look forward to the World Cup trophy. Whether the long tour has made our players tired or has it given a reason to the players to overcome their shortcomings, is yet to be seen.
Ishant Sharma out of the World Cup
As if the bowling inconsistency and problems were not enough, now Ishant Sharma has been left out of the World Cup squad due to a knee injury. Ishant Sharma’s absence will certainly affect the team. It is a loss for India. Right-arm bowler Mohit Sharma, who lacks match practice at present, will have to prove his role as he will replace Ishant.
Ishant was injured during the Boxing Day Test against Australia and had to be made unavailable for the tri-series as well.
Concerns over Batting
As India steps on foreign soil to play the 2015 World Cup, batting will be an issue as well. The tri-series saw a disappointing show from Indian batsmen who failed to weave magic. If the batting order does not deliver, it is going to be very hard to win the World Cup title. Shikhar Dhawan has been in poor form since last year. The sooner he gets back into form, the better it will be for the Indian opening slot. Virat Kohli, who is considered the best batsman at present, too failed to deliver at the tri-series. He failed to carry forward his impressive Test form against Australia and England. World Cup needs class and consistency on the field. If the men in blue take control of that, better game will be witnessed at Adelaide.
Lack of experienced players
In contrast to the winning squad for the 2011 World Cup, the 2015 line-up lacks experienced and star players. This World Cup is devoid of Sachin Tendulkar, who pulled crowd because of his class. Then there are star players like Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan. The names and the experience they have in Indian cricket in itself instills faith in fans. Yuvraj and Sehwag seemed to have picked up form if we look into their domestic games, but unfortunately the two couldn’t find place in the 2015 World Cup squad. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the star power in the 2011 World Cup saw India emerge as champions. And now we have a young team that still has to prove its game and commitment on ground. Four years back, India had reliable and talented opening batsmen in the form of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag. The impressive middle order comprised Tendulkar, Yuvraj, Raina and Dhoni. Now, the middle order is facing confusion and inconsistency. However, the young team including Rahane, Raidu and Virat Kohli might showcase class.
The 2011 squad had experienced bowlers Zaheer Khan along with Munaf Patel, Sreesanth and Harbhajan. However, the present squad is facing consistency challenges in bowling. No doubt, Dhoni’s 2011 team was a complete team! We hope the 2015 World Cup too sees a resurgent India. The Indian side, unlike some other teams, does not have enough players with the experience of having played World Cup. While Sri Lanka has Mahela Jayawardene and Pakistan has Shahid Afridi, New Zealand will boast of Daniel Vettori’s experience.
Can India win the World Cup?
The tri-series against Australia and England saw the Indian batsman and bowlers struggle on ground. With poor bowling, the pressure would shift to batsmen and vice-versa. Why is it that the team that scores heaps of runs on their home ground, finds it hard to do the same on international soil?
Cricket fans in India are losing interest as the players have been repeatedly disappointing them with out-of-form performances. First, the sudden retirement of Dhoni from Test Cricket raised questions. Then the spat between Kohli and Dhawan made headlines. Also, after Tendulkar retired, the viewership dropped. Questions have been asked when it comes to coordination, consistency and class. Dhoni defended his team by stating that the long tour had wearied the players. Does it not wear them down when they score endlessly for their teams in the Indian Premier League? Reality check needs to be done ahead of the World Cup.
Is Dhoni still an idol for the team?
A sudden announcement of retiring from Test Cricket was questioned. His decision to quit in the middle of the Test series he was interpreted as the captain abandoning his own team. He might have his reasons, but the incident was looked at in suspicion. Now, the same skipper who quit Test cricket, will return as One-day team skipper! Whether he will be an inspiration or not is yet to be seen. Looking back at the triangular series, Dhoni failed to impress his boys. Lack of passion in the whole team was evident. With such a scenario, the road to World Cup is going to be a tough one.