The Indian cricket team is the most dominant team across formats. They have been the numero uno team for over a decade now. But what stops them from being called the absolute world greats is the fact that they have failed to win major ICC tournaments. The loss in the WTC finals was the latest entrant in India’s unwanted repertoire. India last won a major ICC Trophy back in 2013 (Champions Trophy) but have nothing else to show since then. The captaincy decisions in a few of these tournaments have been questionable too. They not only lacked cricketing logic but seemed devoid of conviction. Here are the 5 Captaincy decisions that cost India ICC Tournaments.
StumpsandBails looks at 5 captaincy decisions that cost India major ICC trophies:
#5 2016 T20 World Cup Semi-Final
Captaincy Decisions That Cost India ICC Tournaments. The 2016 T20 World Cup was held in India. The men in blue were pre-tournament favourites. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in a media presser quipped that the Indian team is performing on 6th gear. There was a sense of over-confidence around the squad. They were rightly humbled in the very first game when New Zealand out-spun India and defeated them comfortably. India pulled their socks and won 3 games on the trot to qualify for the semi-finals.
India backed their safe game in the semi-finals as compared to the risk-based power-hitting approach of the West Indies. The move backfired badly as the Windies romped home by 7 wickets chasing 192 runs. Dhoni strangely bowled T20’s leading spinner back then, Ravichandran Ashwin for just 2 overs. The move was bizarre and India ended up ruing that decision.
#4 2017 Champions Trophy Final
India again started as tournament favourites even before a ball was bowled. They handed a morale-crushing defeat to Pakistan in the opening fixture. Pakistan though stunningly regrouped and reached the finals. They had to contend with India in the main game. Virat Kohli called the coin toss right and to everyone’s surprise, decided to bowl first. The world knew Pakistan hated chasing and their chances lied if they got to bat first. Kohli’s decision helped Pakistan get what they wanted. They went on to post a mammoth score of 338 against an indisciplined Indian attack. India lost the game by 180 runs and it all boiled down to the decision that was made at the toss.
#3 2014 T20 World Cup Final
India were the team to beat in the 2014 T20 World Cup. The World Cup was played on slow low surfaces of Bangladesh. Indian spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Amit Mishra wrecked havoc in the World Cup. India didn’t lose a single game en route to the finals. Batting first in the finals against Sri Lanka, India were in a position of strength.
Virat Kohli who was in fine form throughout the tournament looked all set to take India to a huge total. But in a strange move that lacked logic, MS Dhoni promoted Yuvraj Singh up the order ahead of the likes of Suresh Raina and himself. Singh scored a painstaking 21 ball 11 and consumed the entire momentum of the innings.
India eventually had to settle for an under-par score of 129. Sri Lanka chased it easily and emerged world champions. India threw away a golden chance of becoming the first team to win the T20 World Cup twice.
#2 2003 World Cup Final
Indian cricketing fans can never forget the 2003 World Cup finals. The Indian team was on an 8 match winning run. A 20-year long wait to lift the World Cup had caught up on everyone. Sourav Ganguly won the all-important toss in the epic final. But the moment he said that India will field, a million Indian shoulders immediately drooped. India weren’t good at chasing back then. The best chance the team had was to put a 300+ score on board to challenge Australia. But the moment Ganguly decided to send Australia in, it was all but over for India. Australia posted 359-2, the highest score in any ICC final. They won the game by 125 runs. It took 8 full years for a whole generation to forget that defeat.
#1 2019 World Cup Semi-Final
India had readied Ambati Rayudu for the number 4 spot since 2018. He was given opportunities to prepare himself for the big tournament. Rayudu to his credit grabbed all the chances that came his way. He often played the role of a crisis man when the team was in trouble. But a 3 match bad run in the home series against Australia at home prior to the World Cup cost Rayudu his place.
India didn’t have a settled number 4 player in the XI. KL Rahul was the designated number 4 on the eve of the World Cup. But owing to Shikhar Dhawan’s injury in the 2nd game, Rahul took over the opener’s role and Vijay Shankar was slotted in at 4. He played a couple of games and suffered a freak injury during practice. This ruled him out of the tournament. India were forced to play Rishabh Pant at 4 in the all-important World Cup game. Chasing a score of 240 against New Zealand in the semi-finals, India were reduced to 5-3 and later 24-4. The move to exclude Rayudu proved fatal on that fateful day.
India’s false decision-making wasn’t limited just to the number 4 spot. They made an epic blunder holding back their senior-most player, MS Dhoni while India’s young guns kept throwing away their wickets. Dhoni walked in at number 7. But unfortunately, the damage done was irreversible. India who topped the league stage suffered a heartbreaking loss. It has been 2 years since that defeat but the painful memories are yet to be erased.