Beginning of a new spell - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Beginning of a new spell

ByHT Editorial
Nov 20, 2023 10:51 PM IST

The World Cup is done, time to rebuild Team India starts now

The morning after, the mind is riddled with “what ifs”. What if the pitch was a belter? What if India had won the toss? What if Rohit Sharma had stayed there a little longer? What if KL Rahul had batted at a higher strike-rate? What if Mohammed Siraj had taken the new ball? What if Travis Head had edged one early? The list plays out, over and over again, showing no signs of ending. But while we may feel the need to analyse what went wrong, the run to the final was a reminder of all that is right with this Indian team. When on song, they make watching the game fun.

India coach Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli look dejected during the presentation ceremony after losing the ICC Cricket World Cup final(REUTERS) PREMIUM
India coach Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli look dejected during the presentation ceremony after losing the ICC Cricket World Cup final(REUTERS)

The morning after, the mind is riddled with “what ifs”. What if the pitch was a belter? What if India had won the toss? What if Rohit Sharma had stayed there a little longer? What if KL Rahul had batted at a higher strike-rate? What if Mohammed Siraj had taken the new ball? What if Travis Head had edged one early? The list plays out, over and over again, showing no signs of ending. But while we may feel the need to analyse what went wrong, the run to the final was a reminder of all that is right with this Indian team. When on song, they make watching the game fun.

From Rohit’s attacking verve to Kohli’s consistency to the zip generated by Bumrah and Shami, Team India set new standards throughout the tournament, only to find that Australia could go one better on the big day. Perhaps it helped that Australia have done this plenty of times before, while India have to go as far back as 2013 for their last ICC trophy. That they tripped on the final hurdle doesn’t make their journey any less inspiring. But it does tell you that a little more was needed. Finding or nurturing a big-match mentality is clearly the missing piece in the puzzle, and winning streaks in the previous World Cups that ended in the knockouts point in the same direction.

So what next? For starters, over the next 12 months, India will play only six ODIs. The time is ripe to phase out some of the seniors and start planning for 2027. With fewer ODIs being played, it is vital that some of the youngsters find their feet and understand the format. The challenge of playing in South Africa, Nambia and Zimbabwe (at the next World Cup) is not one to be taken lightly. But preparing for the future is critical if you want to give the side the best chance of succeeding. Rahul Dravid, as coach, played a huge role in that aspect but his contract has run out, and one still doesn’t know whether he will stay for the next cycle. It is vital that a smooth succession plan is in place. The loss in the final is a huge disappointment for the Class of 2023, no doubt, but that’s sport — you either win or you learn.

Unlock a world of Benefits with HT! From insightful newsletters to real-time news alerts and a personalized news feed – it's all here, just a click away! -Login Now!

Continue reading with HT Premium Subscription

Daily E Paper I Premium Articles I Brunch E Magazine I Daily Infographics
freemium
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, February 23, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On