Melbourne : Former India cricketer Krishnamachari Srikkanth feels that in the lead-up to the recently-concluded Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia, the Rohit Sharma-led side should have focused on impactful bilateral series against top teams and could have included more of those players who would have proved to be useful in Australian conditions.
In the Men’s T20 World Cup, India entered the semifinals of the tournament by becoming table-toppers from Group 2. But their quest of ending a nine-year wait for an ICC trophy came to an abrupt halt with a crushing 10-wicket loss to eventual champions England in the semifinal at the Adelaide Oval.
“I really don’t know, that’s why they did not walk the talk. As a selector or the chairman of the selection committee I’ll put it this way, ‘Don’t take it seriously, series like West Indies and Ireland you don’t take it too seriously as these sides are a bit weak’.
Even though I’m a great fan of West Indies and a fan of Ian Bishop who broke my hand once upon a time, that’s a different issue altogether,” said Srikkanth on ‘Match Point’ show on Star Sports.
Incidentally, in the tournament, Ireland caused huge upsets, defeating the two-time champions West Indies in a decisive first-round match at Hobart and were the only team in the tournament to defeat England in a famous five-run win at the MCG apart from running Australia and New Zealand close in Super 12s.
“But you don’t take those series seriously, you focus on the series that are very impactful. And you have to understand that you are playing in Australia, so for these Australian conditions who would be the right guys here?
So that’s a mistake they all made in the sense that you have taken the Ireland series seriously, India vs Ireland. India vs England, yes fantastic bilateral series. But don’t take teams like Ireland seriously and pick players that are in form,” added Srikkanth, who formerly served as chairman of senior men’s selection committee.
While replying to Srikkanth’s comments, former West Indies pacer Ian Bishop explained on how the level of intensity required by teams to compete in tournaments such as the T20 World Cup is different as compared to a bilateral series.
“I think it’s deeper than that. And everyone will know this, when you play bilateral cricket there’s a certain level of intensity, but when you come to a World Cup, there’s another step in the level of intensity and the level of responsibility that comes with that.
“So, there’s a great book written that you go into an England dressing room, and you see the guys in a bilateral series, and it’s like they are having fun. You go into that same dressing room when it’s a world cup, and people are on edge it’s a different level of focus and intensity required.”
“And I think if you play South Africa or England in a bilateral series before the World Cup, its different when you play them in a World Cup. And that’s the mind-set that I think has to change. World Cup cricket we have to somehow be mentally strong to exhibit that same freedom.”