Some defeats linger, abandoning a bitter aftertaste of missed alternatives and what-might-have-beens. Others are simpler to digest, as palatable as losses may be. It’s arduous to say to which class India’s five-wicket loss to South Africa belongs.
Yes, a litany of fielding errors, not least Virat Kohli’s drop of Aiden Markram, stymied India’s cost in the direction of a sensational win once they had simply 133 to defend. Yes, KL Rahul’s persevering with terrible patch is now starting to snowball right into a major problem.
Yes, India’s potential lack of collective health is beginning to stand uncovered on the bigger grounds in Australia. Yes, the tryst with Dinesh Karthik isn’t fairly paying off when it issues essentially the most. Yes, India had been comfortably off the boil on the Optus Stadium on Sunday night time. The fairly image certain ain’t fairly.
And but, it’s unlikely that the think-tank will have a look at this defeat as something greater than a minor blip, undoubtedly a setback however not the tip of the world. After all, they might argue, these aren’t circumstances you encounter each day in India. Anywhere on this planet, for that matter. And all different issues being equal, these aren’t circumstances India might be confronted with once more on this T20 World Cup, what with their subsequent two Super 12 Group 2 video games pencilled in for Adelaide and Melbourne, and the knockouts scheduled for Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne, which can host the grand ultimate in lower than a fortnight’s time.
Furthermore, India’s future continues to stay in their very own arms. Victories towards Bangladesh on Wednesday and Zimbabwe subsequent Sunday will assure them a spot within the final 4, irrespective of how different outcomes pan out. On pedigree and present kind, India ought to safe full factors from each video games if the climate holds up, however Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid gained’t be unaware of the perils of taking issues without any consideration.
It’s too late now for something to be accomplished from a health perspective, nevertheless it’s clear that this isn’t the fittest, quickest Indian cricket workforce by any stretch of the creativeness. Of all of the codecs, the 20-over selection is the one which exposes health, and by extension fielding, inadequacies. There is not any place to ‘disguise’ fielders, the slightest laxity is punished mercilessly.
Throw within the huge grounds right here, which take a look at power, velocity and endurance within the legs and the facility of the throwing arms, and an unhazy image emerges of what might loom as India’s largest problem going deeper into the event.
It’s no secret that this Indian facet is essentially bereft of ‘athletes’. From being probably the greatest fielding models worldwide not so lengthy again, India have downgraded to being satisfactory, at greatest, within the park. Outside of Kohli and Hardik Pandya, there are few that may eat up floor quickly or hearth the ball flat from the deep. To say that the workforce is ‘carrying’ just a few fielders would possibly seem unbecoming and insensitive, however aggressive sport isn’t for the sensitive and there may be nothing to be gained by papering over harsh realities.
Ironically, the fittest and quickest fielder within the squad was culpable of essentially the most severe fielding error on Sunday. Kohli is the least doubtless candidate to embrace complacency on the park, so the dropped catch has to go down as a kind of unusual issues that occur on the cricket discipline the place stress can influence even essentially the most seasoned crazily.
It’s these round him that have to form up. A run saved right here, a direct hit scored there can usually show to be the decisive distinction in video games of skinny margins, and whereas India can’t rework in a single day right into a combating match, top-quality fielding outfit, they have to focus extra intently on the one-percenters whose complete provides as much as much more than the sum of its elements.
(R Kaushik is a senior cricket author)