India failed to take a wicket against Pakistan at the 2021 T20 World Cup and the team was eventually knocked out of the tournament in the league stage itself. As Virat Kohli had announced, he stepped down from T20I captaincy and coach Ravi Shastri also walked away with his tenure coming to an end. With the Kohli-Shastri duo gone, the Rohit-Dravid era began and fans hoped for a change of fortunes.
With India winning bilateral series against New Zealand, England, South Africa and Australia; it seemed the nine-year wait for an ICC title will finally end at the T20 World Cup 2022. The Men in Blue started their campaign with a thrilling win over arch-rivals Pakistan. Fans were happy as the last year’s defeat was avenged but the tournament had just begun.
India played the Netherlands next and won comprehensively. Then came the match against South Africa and India’s batting was exposed on a bouncy Perth wicket. Rohit Sharma’s men could only post a score in the 130s but that too required Suryakumar Yadav’s brilliance. South Africa won by five wickets and the tournament moved on and the talks around India’s batting debacle were swept under the carpet saying it was the pitch that was at fault.
With India winning against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in their last two league-stage games, they qualified for the semifinals and were pitted against England. As India finished at the top of the points table in their group and their batters were ‘in the form’, the Men in Blue were the favourites to win the match. But guess what happened? India crumbled under pressure, once again. KL Rahul departed cheaply, once again.
Rohit Sharma could not make the most of the start he got, once again and it all came down to the middle order, once again. Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya scored half-centuries but India could only manage 168/6 (the par score). But looking at the pitch, everyone knew it was not going to be easy for India to stop England. Well, it was easy for Alex Hales and Jos Buttler to thrash Indian bowlers and score 170 in 96 balls.
So, India were knocked out of an ICC tournament, ONCE AGAIN. And with this defeat, began the talk around changing the ecosystem and the way India plays T20Is. Former cricketers are chipping in with suggestions with the likes of Anil Kumble suggesting different teams for different formats.
"Definitely, you need separate teams. You need, certainly, T20 specialists. I think what this English team has shown and even the last (T20) World Cup champions Australia have shown is that you need to invest in a lot of allrounders,” Kumble has suggested.
Meanwhile, a few like Sunil Gavaskar want senior players to retire and make way for younger players. The former India legend has also demanded a change in captaincy. "Having won the Indian Premier League on his first assignment as the captain, they would have marked Hardik Pandya out as the next captain…There are several players in their mid-30s who will be reconsidering their position in the Indian T20I team," Gavaskar said after India’s defeat to England.
But what is the BCCI thinking? As per reports, the Indian cricket board is also planning on a revamp but they want to talk to the seniors first. An InisdeSport report has claimed that BCCI will hold a talk with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Rahul Dravid before making any move. Another report has claimed that the likes of Kohli and Sharma will be asked to focus on Test and ODIs. Not only these two, but someone like R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Dinesh Karthik will also have to step aside.
Will there also be a change in management? It looks like so. The BCCI is keen on adopting the ECB’s model of having a director of cricket or a team manager and it is considering someone like MS Dhoni for such a role. But nothing can be said for sure as of now as the BCCI has refrained from even commenting on the loss to England.
Now, answering the question that if a revamp is going to happen, it will not be easy. The BCCI will have to make tough calls but maintain the balance of experience and youth in the team as well. England have shown how it needs to be done and as Michael Vaughan has said, “BCCI will have to swallow its pride and take inspiration from England”.