Cricket News: How India might rebound from a disappointing 2022
When the Virat Kohli - Ravi Shastri era ended towards the end of 2021, most Indian cricket fans figured that the team was in for a long-needed reset.
Rohit Sharma came as captain across formats, and a new head coach in the form of Rahul Dravid. The initial results were good, and the preparations for the 2022 T20 World Cup went well.
But then came India’s first significant blow – a loss to England in the one-off Test, when a Bazball-infused England caught the side off guard.
The second major blow came when India failed to win the Asia Cup, losing to Pakistan and Sri Lanka en route to an exit in the Super Six stage.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">A friendly reminder that Yuzvendra Chahal has never bowled a single ball in a T20 World Cup. <a href="https://t.co/QBX2vun2rP">pic.twitter.com/QBX2vun2rP</a></p>— Broken Cricket Dreams Cricket Blog (@cricket_broken) <a href="https://twitter.com/cricket_broken/status/1590651583741583360?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 10, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
But the most significant blow came when India was eliminated from the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup, a tournament in which they never looked convincing and only won most games by the skin of their teeth.
Amazingly, things went from bad to worse for India from 2021 to 2022 – to the point where Rohit Sharma is now in line to lose his T20I captaincy, and there are central question marks not only over coach Rahul Dravid but also the BCCI and selectors.
It might seem like an overblown reaction, but given the vast riches India have in the sport – both in terms of money and talent – they should not be performing the way they are.
But how can things change going into the coming year, which brings an ICC World Cup – that will be held in India, no less?
The first thing to do would be to settle on a core group of players. This means your playing XI, four bench options and about four to five more back-ups in case of unforeseen circumstances like long-term injuries.
Once the board decides on that, the next aim would be to get them as much game time as possible. This is easier said than done, but it would be easier to rotate players when you already know your core rather than arbitrarily handing out caps and then resting players in the name of workload management.
The last thing that the team must do is to ensure there is consistency in decision-making. In 2022, Yuzvendra Chahal was India’s first-choice spinner throughout the year, and Ravi Bishnoi was his backup.
The T20 World Cup saw neither play a game before Ravichandran Ashwin appeared unexpectedly.
Yuzvendra Chahal became the backup spinner, whereas Bishnoi got discarded and doesn’t seem in line for a recall any time soon.
The team also randomly picked Dinesh Karthik on the back of a few strong IPL performances and then lost faith in him at the last minute, leading to a situation where both he and incumbent Rishabh Pant were undercooked and would have reasons to feel hard done by.
Decisions were often made without rhyme or reason, and they appeared to be taken just because they were.
Only if all these steps are implemented can the team expect a better 2023. Otherwise, one can expect more of the same.