Poor team selection cost India the 2019 Cricket World Cup title

India had the best chance to lift Cricket World Cup 2019, but the opportunity is lost now. Many youngsters with great talent were knocking at the door for Indian Cricket team. But, they were ignored at the cost of some mediocre cricketers and at the cost of a player who passed his prime long ago. 

The record of a great finisher of ancient times was not satisfactory outside sub-continent even when he was at his prime. Many of cricket lovers like me don’t understand when game is getting faster day by day, ODI pitches are prepared batting friendly mostly, how we can stick to players who can’t score run-a-ball even against ordinary bowling attacks? How can we risk avoiding singles in penultimate overs in such a big event in the hope of getting boundaries or sixes when we know only one ball is required to get you out? 

IPL is the right platform for older players. You can also take the risk of accommodating one player (according to situation playing outside or in sub-continent) in Test cricket if he can waste hundred balls and score some 40-45 runs. This, however, will be suicidal in ODIs and T20Is. 

You can fail once or twice but not eight times out of 10. A poor batting performance from one batsman put pressure on his partner. How Ravindra Jadeja lost his wicket in semifinal is example of the same. Just try to remember, how many times a team won when 45 runs are needed of 19 balls. However big a finisher you might be, probability of winning in such cases is only one or two times out of ten. So, the mantra for today cricket is don’t waste balls. 

Gone were the days when we were struggling to find openers, wicketkeeper-batsmen, all-rounders and fast bowlers. Many in queue are waiting for their turn to play for their nation. ODI and T20 cricket is no more a game for players of old age (more than 35 years) and also moreover when you have better talent available with you. 

We should learn from Cricket Australia how they handle their aged players. How they convince them to retire timely with their heads high. Why not retire at your prime like AB de Villiers did? In India, it seems that the BCCI is under pressure from someone to pick these players. How public sentiments can be ignored while selecting players for event like World Cup when a sport is loved so much in a country that a sport person should remember “HE IS WHAT HE IS”. How could Rishabh Pant be ignored? 

Why an experienced number four like Suresh Raina or Manish Pandey, who scored consistently outside sub-continent, is ignored. Opener options like Prithvi Shaw & Mayank Aggarwal should have been picked when Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the World Cup due to injury. Mayank was picked later when the tournament was almost over. Why the best fielder of the team & all-rounder, Ravindra Jadeja, was brought in for the last few matches whereas he was the only off spin option available with the team and could save many runs with his fielding?

India experimented with their playing eleven throughout the tournament. Why was Vijay Shankar not given bowling opportunity in seam friendly England pitches? He even picked a wicket on his first ball when given the opportunity. Players like him are of no use if we don’t have faith in their all-rounder abilities. Does Indian selection committee believe Shankar is a better batsman than Manish Pandey or Suresh Raina?

How injuries of players were handled is also a matter of concern. In team eleven Dinesh Karthik should have played as wicket keeper and Pant should have been picked as specialist batsman just to keep him fresh. There is no doubt Pant is a good keeper too but just to avoid burden of wicket keeping, the responsibility should have been given to Karthik. Pant is a great talent and will be a key player in all formats in near future. He can consistently score outside the subcontinent. He is the one who can destroy any bowling attack on any type of surface. He is the wicketkeeper-batsman Indian team needed so badly in decades. He, however, was picked late, upon injury to other players and under public pressure. 

Why not give other capable leaders a chance to lead team India when the person who was given responsibility to lead did not have faith in his own capabilities? First time we are seeing that there is an official and a non official captain in a cricket team. What is the use of Vice-Captain? Remember a great batsman is not necessarily a great captain.

This World Cup will be remembered as the one which India could have won comfortably but lost due to poor selection of players. India had the best bowler in the form of Jasprit Bumrah. They had the best Batsmen in the form of Kohli and Rohit. The Men in Blue had best Keeper batsman in the form of Pant and Karthick. India had best all-rounders in the form of Pandya and Jadeja and still Kohli's men lost. 

A lost opportunity that will haunt the true lovers of the game forever. 

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