It’s amazing that a country with the most touted professional cricket league fails to make the semi-final three times in a row. As is being widely said now, the problem is with the selection. The captain is doing fine. But with the wrong tools, the best craftsmen can’t work their magic.
Yes, the current team is young and no less enthusiastic than the one which won the tournament in 2007. But there are also some passengers in the team on the basis of their reputation and not current form. Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir (despite being the winning captain of IPL 2012) and perhaps Rohit Sharma (more on promise than even reputation in his case!) deserve to be knocked out immediately. The purpose of the IPL was to nurture young talent (in addition, of course, to making money) and the best performers from this have not made it through to the national team. Manvinder Bisla, for example did well in 2012. And if Rohit Sharma can get so many chances, why not Robin Uthappa?
Yes, the format did cheat India as well, but that can’t be an excuse. The format was known from the beginning to all and the teams should have played to make the most of it. Suggestions that Australia played to push Pakistan through are as sound as any calls for inclusion of Ravi Shastri and Sanjay Manjrekar into a T20 team! So can it!
As the focus now shifts to the Champions League in a week or so, all shall be forgotten. Dhoni is not blameless in India’s failure. There were tactical errors on the field. But we can’t ignore that tactics are planned in the dressing room as well. Duncan Fletcher is clearly not worth his reputation (another passenger, I say) and should be replaced forthwith. No, there’s no guaranteed success with a coach as Gary Kirsten himself is experiencing with his home country, but perhaps it’s a good idea to get someone younger. Fletcher’s success (?) with England was towards the end of his tenure there and it coincided with the emergence of Andy Flower as a key strategist.
What next? More mindless Test series and ODIs till the next global tournament. In 2014 and 2015. WTF ICC!