The World Cup chronicles: Battered and bruised India are already out




The 40-year history of the ICC Cricket World Cup is proof that miracles happen rarely. Apart from the 1983 and 1987 tournaments, it can be safely said that the best teams took home the trophy by playing consistent and top quality cricket. The same theory, unfortunately, rules defending champions India out of the tournament before its start. The travesties that the Indian team has gone through down under have drained almost 95 percent of their ability out of them. Battered, bruised and fatigued, India simply does not possess the mentality to defend their cup.

The World Cup chronicles: Battered and bruised India are already out

The World Cup chronicles: Battered and bruised India are already out

Before any questions are raised about such a lofty claim being made even before the tournament starting, let’s analyse the different factors that form the path to this conclusion. A mere comparison of the 2011 and 2015 squads tell a story that is self-explanatory.

In the 2011 edition, India had Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag as their opening duo, which, by far, was the best among all. Tendulkar, even at 38, was playing the best cricket of his life and Sehwag, as always, was his destructive self. Cut to 2015 and MS Dhoni cannot rely on Shikhar Dhawan’s ability to give India the critical and proverbial good start. Such is his reservation about the instability that Virat Kohli’s batting number is not fixed yet, which might prove to be a little unsettling for someone who is the mainstay.

It is only natural to expect Virat Kohli to shine in the World Cup, considering his form and penchant for the limited overs format. However, his last 5 ODI knocks overseas read 8, 3*, 4, 9 and 13, which is bound to be a worrying sign. In addition, the Test series, quite visibly, has drained a lot out of him and it would be unfair to expect Kohli to carry the batting on his shoulders.

Ajinkya Rahane and Ambati Rayudu are both good batsmen but are not finished products as far as overseas conditions are considered. While in 2015, the team, in Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh, two southpaws who could single-handedly win matches. Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni might be Don Bradman and Viv Richards, respectively, in the sub-continent but conditions in Australia and New Zealand are going to be the exact opposite.

Every World Cup winning team has always possessed a bowling attack capable of turning games on their heads. India, in 2011, were led by the brilliant Zaheer Khan, who was ably supported by Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh. Ishant Sharma’s departure has taken away that stability from the Indian team and Umesh Yadav, with his inconsistency, will not shine like Dale Steyn or Mitchell Johnson.

Last and the biggest difference that will take India down is the lack of an ‘X-factor’, which, in 2011, was provided by Yuvraj Singh. MS Dhoni, in his pack of cards, does not possess a joker like Yuvraj from 2011, who could turn just make a good team into a great one.

Playing a four-Test series in Australia followed by a triangular ODI tournament containing a minimum of four games is bound to knock the stuffing out of any team, let alone this young Indian brigade. To make matters worse, the Indians have not managed a single victory after stepping on Australian soil and neither have they seen their families, which are bound to be psychological blows for this bunch of youngsters.

To sum things up, India, in all likelihood, will return home empty handed unless something miraculously creeps into Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav and others, propelling them to heal all their wounds with the ointment of victory.

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