Wasim Akram opines on Team India's 2021 T20 WC campaign Photograph:( AFP )
Decoding Team India's failure at the 2021 T20 World Cup, former Pakistan captain and pacer Wasim Akram has called for the need to change their approach. Here's what he said:
Team India were regarded as one of the strongest contenders for winning the 2021 T20 World Cup, in the UAE. Having entered the showpiece event on the back of playing the final leg of IPL 14, also held in the UAE, many thought Virat Kohli & Co. had a golden opportunity of winning the trophy. However, the one-time winners bowed out of the mega edition after being eliminated in the Super 12 round.
India opened their campaign in the Super 12 round facing the arch-rivals Pakistan in Dubai. They were taken aback by Pakistan's fielding and bowling before the Men in Green openers -- Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan -- brought India on the mat with a 10-wicket win. In India's next encounter, they lost to New Zealand by 8 wickets and came closer to elimination. After two big losses, India did recover to win three in a row -- versus Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia -- but the writing was on the wall by then.
Hence, former Pakistan captain and pacer Wasim Akram has opened up on India's T20 WC debacle. Despite having IPL as a perfect platform for preparing for the T20 WC and comprising some superstar cricketers in their line-up, India have failed to repeat their 2007 heroics and once again win the big title in the shortest format. Hence, Akram explained why India need to 'think back'.
"They were the favourites to win the World Cup. And I suppose after the first game… after especially Shaheen Afridi's first over, they never could recover. Then you see, there were a lot of talks about they concentrate on the IPL a lot more," Akram said in a video uploaded by Sport360.
"Their players don't play against international players as much in the other league. And probably they were right at times because very few have faced – Pakistan and India have hardly played cricket – very few have faced Shaheen, Haris Rauf or Hasan Ali," he asserted.
He added, "When you play leagues in different countries – one or two, I’m not saying play every league – at least your players get the experience to play against the other bowlers, different pitches, different teams, different conditions. So I think they (India) have to think back… IPL is the number 1 league, yes, money-wise, talent-wise but they have to allow the players at least one or two more leagues worldwide."
After the T20 WC, India have had several changes in their setup. Kohli resigned as the T20 captain -- as he had already mentioned before the mega tournament -- whereas BCCI named Rohit Sharma as the limited-overs captain in early December, sacking Kohli as the ODI skipper. For the unversed, Rohit had already taken over as a T20I captain post Kohli's resignation.
Ravi Shastri, on the other hand, was succeeded by Rahul Dravid as India's head coach after the former's tenure came to an end post the T20 WC.