The squad of 15 cricketers the selectors have picked for the T20 World Cup in Australia is about all the talent that Team India possesses. They are not leaving anyone behind who can make them regret his exclusion. There may have been one or two marginal choices but those left out may not have made such an impact as to make a difference between victory and defeat.
The truth is, it is no more about who represents India so much as what they can do for the team to live up to the expectations of fans who still believe they are a world beating team even if they have not won an ICC event for nine years and an Asia Cup for four years now. In fact, it is 15 years since Dhoni’s men changed world cricket forever with their victory in the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa.
In a post-Asia Cup scenario, captain Rohit Sharma said there was nothing wrong with his team and that it only seemed so from outside. Indian teams did well in the past when they thought of themselves as underdogs, much as the Sri Lankans are known to do, even as recently as in their Asia Cup success. If the management believes there is nothing to fix as Team India isn’t broken, they are unlikely to get over their diffidence when it comes to winning do-or-die cup competitions.
The time for experiments is over and the team has to perform. There may be sticky choices to make as to who should keep wickets – Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik – or who should be the support seamer to Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel. The spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Ashwin and Axar Patel – may have a bit going for them in the bigger Australian grounds, which batsmen cannot clear as easily as they do elsewhere.
No team is greater than the sum of its parts though in star-studded Indian teams the spotlight is invariably on the celebrities. Eleven years have gone by since the last World Cup victory by Team India. The next two World Cups coming up – the T20 in Australia soon and the 50-overs event in India next year – are like last chance saloons. Time then to stop talking and start planning how to win....