By Sudhansu R Das
The good news for the Indian team is Rahul Dravid is likely to replace Ravi Shastri as chief coach. Dravid is known for his commitment and hard work both on and off the field; he has proved his mantle as a dedicated coach of India’s under 19 team. He has won the title “Wall” for his strong defense which was difficult for any bowler to breach. Now Team India has also engaged MS Dhoni as mentor. The team should draw inspiration from Dhoni’s ability to show nerves of steel and cool temperament at the time of crisis. On many occasions, Dhoni had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with his “never say die approach.” Dhoni is a living example before the Indian team which will help the team bounce back in future encounters.
India lost to Pakistan because they did not show the character and nerve of steel against Pakistan’s pace attack and their not so good spin bowling. Indian players were obsessed with the thought of defeating Pakistan and were looking tense and out of focus during the match. The players should be fully focused and not self conscious of winning the game. India could not take a single wicket of Pakistan nor the bowlers could beat the batsmen in Pakistan’s 152 run chase. It was a cake walk for the Pakistan team. A big lesson for the Indian team which needs to introspect.
India should necessarily bring in Ravichandran Ashwin in place of Hardik Pandya; there is no point in playing Pandya who has not been in bowling action for a long time. Ashwin has experience and is in good form; he can also bat well though he can’t be a game changer with his bat. Shardul Thakur is shaping up well into an all rounder who can replace Muhammed Shami. Shardul and Ashwin have positive body language which emits never say die spirit. Body language, nerves of steel and full focus always contribute to winning tough matches. It is unjust for the social media to blame Shami for the defeat when all the bowlers failed to shake off Pakistan defense.
The Pakistan Prime Minister, Imram Khan has always kept his one eye on cricket. It has helped the Pakistan cricket team rebuild itself from complete ruin. It looked strong against India but it had shown their cracks against New Zealand which had narrowly lost the IPL match against Pakistan. One single win against India will not make Pakistan invincible because Team India can bounce back with its rich experience and explosive batting line up.
The team management should adopt a nation first approach and show zero tolerance to players who do not move their feet well against quality pace bowling and spin attack. Their old record should not be the criteria for entering into the playing eleven. This should be applicable to anybody including Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli also. No player should act as a stumbling block before the growth of young talents. India desperately needs to groom young batsmen to become like Yuvraj Singh, Virendra Sehwag and MS Dhoni who were good finishers of the game. India should have picked up young Ruturaj Gaikwad who has sound batting techniques and was a good finisher. Team management should give water to a sapling when it really needs it. Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and K L Rahul and Rishabh Pant should play the role of finishers to keep India’s hope alive in the T 20 world cup.