‘Kangaroos’ make their country proud, lift the coveted ICC World Cup 2023
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‘Kangaroos’ make their country proud, lift the coveted ICC World Cup 2023

November 23, 2023

By V.N. Prasad

‘Men in Blue’ fail yet again on a big stage

Heartiest congratulations to the OZs on lifting their 6th World Cup Trophy by 6 wickets with 42 balls to spare, leaving Indians ‘Yellow Faced.’

The cricketing world was shocked    beyond belief that our boys could not carry forward the huge momentum, having won all the ten matches en route to finals. Not a single player, past and present, of international repute had an iota of doubt that we were far better than the OZs, defying apprehensions that our chances were hyped too much.

Was it complacency? No, I don’t think. Each of the ten earlier matches won was a statement. To expect an encore was nothing much. Question was ‘What would be a safe total?’ Somewhere close to 350? Yes, we were capable. Money was on our boys. But, they caved in when it mattered most. Sorry. It was a shameful exhibition.

While philosophising the loss is the easier option, it would do well to analyse the surrender. In ODIs, we look at 50 overs, a lot of time to concentrate, consolidate and build. Key was to stay, study the conditions and deliver. ‘Rush of the Blood’, we buckle. ‘Excessive Caution’, we fall short of runs and the total. Both were root causes.

Here are points to ponder:

1. May be difficult to digest, but the ‘ROT’ set in as Shubman Gill played a stroke that a novice would not have, in such a big game. A ‘Short Arm Jab’ around waist/ chest height was foolish to say the least.

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2. Early and irresponsible dismissal of Gill surely caused disturbance in skipper Rohit Sharma and he threw away his wicket to a needless ‘Rush of the Blood’. Well, that wasn’t the end of the world.

3. Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer were well-capable of building the innings  all over, despite the fact that we cannot be depending on Virat and Shreyas, match after match.

4. While Shreyas was out to a beauty by Pat Cummins, Virat was extremely unfortunate. He is not the one to              angle the bat to be playing onto the stumps. Anyway.

5. However, with the dismissal of Shreyas, both Virat and K.L. Rahul (KLR) got ‘Excessively Cautious’. The crawl got BORING, to say the least.

6. KLR lacked the courage/ conviction to take Ravindra Jadeja and Suryakumar Yadav (SKY) into confidence and accelerate. He chose to tap around for singles. His 66 off 107 was a spineless essay. Strike Rate of 67 by an accomplished batsman like KLR left much  to be desired.

7. If at all there was a ‘Hype’, that was of SKY. This was his Golden Opportunity, which he squandered.

Now, with all of the above, what could you expect of our bowlers. At 47 for 3, there was a ray of hope. But, ultimately, it was the hard hitting Travis Head at 114 and the Gritty Marnus Labuschagne at 53 who took the challenge up to 239. Glen Maxwell helped drive the last nail in the coffin.

Well, all in the game. Let us hope that young blood to flow in and fulfil our ambitions in the next essay in 2027.

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