The perils of not waking up early in a tournament as unforgiving and unpredictable as a T20 World Cup finally took the expected toll on the Indian team on Sunday evening.
On the eve of their last league game in Group Two against minnows Namibia, Virat Kohli & Co. bowed out of a campaign in which they never really belonged.
The two losses to Pakistan and New Zealand -in which they got outplayed – had already put India on the exit path. From there, it was more of a battle pitching hope against hope and it eventually all came crashing with New Zealand’s eight-wicket win over Afghanistan.
An improved run-rate, the upcoming game against Namibia, the social media frenzy and a billion hopes – none of these matter now. India will take the flight back home and begin their journey to the 2022 edition of the T20 World Cup under new head coach and a new captain on a fresh note.
This campaign also brings an end to the four-year stint of head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar, who have decided to move on.
Their fabulous term saw India achieve the pinnacle of Test cricket glory with back-to-back series wins in Australia, a near-win on the recent tour of England, three dominating seasons at home and a phenomenal run up to the semifinals of the 2019 ICC 50-over World Cup.
However, not managing to bring a single ICC Trophy back home between 2017 and 2021 will remain a barren patch in an otherwise pleasant run for this team.
The same will stand true for Virat Kohli as he bows out of T20 captaincy and could also relinquish the same in the 50-over format very soon.
After Dravid takes over, former junior national bowling coach Paras Mhambrey and former women’s team fielding coach Abhay Sharma will most likely join the former India captain as members of the senior men’s team coaching staff.
This Indian team has been on the road since the third week of May, first landing in England to play the World Test Championship final, followed by the five-Test series (eventually four) against England and the concluding leg of the IPL before the World Cup.
However, these fatigue-levels notwithstanding, the team faltered on multiple fronts too. Shreyas Iyer and Yuzvendra Chahal‘s non-selection, uncertainty about who’ll open, an unplanned middle-order and not having a game plan with an in-form Shardul Thakur in focus could’ve been aspects for the Indian team to look at.