1. Aussies had studied every batsman and their weaknesses well in advance. For example, when Suryakumar was bowled a bouncer, he flicked one above the keeper which in a normal sense should have gone to the boundary; but they had a fielder very fine on the 3rd man behind the keeper which resulted in only 1 run. They knew Surya loves pace but they were bowling slower length balls which were difficult to hit. Another incident was that they knew to bring on Hazelwood and Zampa back when Kohli was there, but this time our star batsman played both of them really well. In short, every batsman was mapped by them perfectly!
2. Mohammad Siraj was brought 2nd change yesterday . Generally he opens the bowling. I heard one of the commentators say that Siraj is excellent with the new ball and useless later. Yes, one of them did say it after the match was over ! Shami shouldn’t have opened the bowling attack. Even though he took a wicket, he had already conceded a lot of runs. Mentally it had already put pressure on the likes of Jadeja, Kuldeep and later on Siraj to contain the Aussie batsman. I always believe, if for 10 matches if something was working why to change the formula for the Final ? For 10 matches Siraj had opened the bowling with Bumrah.
3. We missed Hardik Pandya badly. Hardik’s replacement couldn’t have been Prasith Krishna. We needed an all-rounder of Hardik’s calibre. In a vast country like ours where everyone is a cricket fanatic, is finding an able one all-rounder a task for the BCCI?. KL Rahul (not to be blamed) played exactly what a Dravid or a Rahane or even the newly ‘changed’ Hardik would have played after the departure of Kohli. We needed someone to hang in there which Rahul did perfectly.
4. We make our players stars even if that player has played a couple of matches and performed. See, every player performs in the first 10 matches of his career. He is a ‘star’ for me if he performs likewise (more or less) for the first 50 games of his career. But then what do we do? If the player has performed well in his debut innings or couple of matches we load them with Bollywood, money via corporates, IPL, photoshoots, advertisements and free Bollywood parties. Please understand, many of these players come from humble backgrounds. For them, such huge publicity and easy money and babes, makes them somewhere complacent and a bit ‘airy’. See what happened to the likes of Hardik and his brother Krunal initially, (they both had to be dropped from the national side) and Prithvi Shaw. Even Pant was too big for his boots but then he met with an accident. We have so many of them to cite examples of careers gone wrong due to this ‘air’ and false celebrity image of themselves. In the western countries, cricketers are normal human beings who live a normal life. Infact the ‘aam janta’ there don’t treat them like Gods. They aren’t celebrities there. Here we make them Gods, forget celebrities. Even if they fart, it becomes a newsitem. Let them first reach level by performance and then only give them that ‘celebrity’ tag. Here, a Shubman Gill has already been linked with Sara Tendulkar or a Shreyas Ayyar is linked with another cricketer’s wife. How old are these both in cricket? Such publicities is bad for a cricketer’s head.
5. It is a very common phenomenon here in India for batsmen and bowlers to perform in 1 or 2 matches and then for the rest 10 to 15 games, these same players don’t perform but yet are selected in the playing 11. No rotation policy, no strict performance policy. How will these guys perform consistently if we keep on giving them chances even after they have failed to perform regularly ? Australia and England are best examples as to how to pick your best 11, and hence they perform at any level and in any conditions. Things are slowly changing for India as thanks to the IPL at least we are able to see new talents on the block.
6. But then having said IPL was important for us, a very important culprit is also the IPL played in our country. Mostly, all of these Australian players and other teams are very regular in India to play the IPL. They know our pitches, weather conditions and our players (strengths and weaknesses) dam well. For big occasions these players are ‘mentally’ prepared and know our players very well. The money is BIG but then why don’t our players (hardly 1 or 2 go) go to Australia or England or West-Indies to play their county leagues?
7. What was the need of Bollywood celebrities in the box, BCCI? Likes of Shahid Kapoor and Kunal Khemu were invited but the likes of Kapil Dev were not? Has the BCCI or the MCA become too commercial now? Boss, our country plays on emotions. A real Kapil Dev in the stands cheering for team India was better than the reel life Kapil Dev sitting with his wife in the box.
Overall, a very depressing day for all of us, after the loss. These were a few pointers which were playing on my mind since yesterday. But I didn’t complain when things went well for the first 10 matches. The formula had worked! We Indians have a habit of criticising even if a small thing does not go our way. I am no different. The World Cup was not small. We won’t have a Rohit or a Kohli when it will be played in India the next time. Such is life! But to conclude, hats off to #TeamIndia and I will be indebted to you for the way you guys showed courage and played through the tournament.
Congratulations Australia for winning the #Worldcupfinal2023.
– Vikrant Hemant Joshi