Hockey is considered to be the National Sport of India, but if you ask any common man residing in India which is their favorite game or which game interests them the most, uniformly the answer would be Cricket. Cricket is not just a sport, it’s a passion for some, religion for others, or also, for some it relates to what an oxygen is for the human body. Cricket has the magic to unite people across demography, religions and any other factor one can think about. When Indian cricket team steps in the field, it’s not the playing eleven it’s the entire 130 crore population stepping up for with them. The nation breathes cricket and one can find it from the streets to maidans to the Eden Gardens or to the Wankhede involving every age group. Such is the craze of cricket in India and one can rightly say Cricket is a metaphor for what ails and heals India.

Source: Image by Emma Levine

With a solid domestic structure involving prestigious competitions like Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Vizay Hazare Trophy to name a few, the structure always presents a plethora of talents to chose from. One can never forget the Indian Premier League (IPL) which is now regarded as one of the biggest sporting leagues in the world. Without the emergence of the IPL, the world would have never known the likes of Bumrah or the Pandyas. It just strengthens the fact that cricket is present everywhere in the nation, it just needs to be searched and crafted properly before the talent is unleashed in global platform.

The 1983 Cricket World Cup (officially the Prudential Cup), 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 World Cup, 2013 Champions Trophy; this may seem a rich trophy cabinet to many but when it comes to India it has an altogether different meaning.

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If someone who is constantly following cricket must have had several heartbreaks post 2013 era. 2014 T20 world cup final loss against the islanders Sri Lanka, 2016 T20 semi final loss against West Indies, 2017 Champions trophy final loss against our arch rival Pakistan and the 2019 World Cup Semi Final against the friendly New Zealand; no cricket fan can forget the mentioned matches. One most amazing thing about all the tournaments is that India started off as a favorite to win and gave credible performances for fans and pundits to believe them. But still the Indian Cricket Team crumbled when it mattered the most. Cricket is a team game and it’s natural for a team to have mixture of good days and bad days. However, the bad days have been haunting India for quite a sometime now and many experts are now labelling India as the new chockers. Cricket is a team game where in all the eleven individuals together contribute for a win. If we look at 2011 World Cup, everyone aligned to their role. Yuvraj Singh was the hero, Sachin Tendulkar gave them starts, Zaheer Khan picked up wickets and even a guy Suresh Raina played unbelievable knocks in the knockouts. All this resulted in the right balance to architect the victory. Coming to 2017 or 2019 ICC tournaments, India have the best opener in Rohit Sharma, best chaser of white ball cricket in Virat Kohli, the death over specialist Jasprit Bumrah yet in both the occasion team failed to win the prestigious trophy. It just adds on the fact that you need a brilliant team not just brilliant individuals who are playing together.

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India has been blessed with the best top order batsmen one could think of but too much of anything is harmful, isn’t it? It’s a notion that human refrain themselves from alien environment and the talented top order have left middle order inexperienced from the adversities. Every opponent now knows the fact that if they get top order back to the pavilion then they have the chance against the mighty Indian Team, and it is very well evident in 2017 final and 2019 semi-final losses. Both the games had similar facets where in India lost, the most visible being the India’s best batters being sent back within 5 overs. The fact that ICC events happen in a span of four years and if we look at the past winners one noticeable thing is, they had the same team throughout. If we look from India’s perspective the most googled question would have been who would bat at number 4. Yes, you are allowed to experiment to find the correct balance but too much chopping doesn’t help in any case and India were undone by unsettled middle order.

Mistakes tend to make us a better version of oneself if and only if we have the desire to learn from them. In data driven world one can expect the sooner the better is the best answer and soon Indian Cricket Team learn from their mistakes and act accordingly I am sure the trophy cabinet is there to expand. This pandemic has snatched the T20 world cup which was scheduled to take place in Australia, but looking at the positive side now the tournament will be held in India in 2021. With the blessings of every individual and the hard work of the team it’s certainly safe to say – Yes, we can win….!!!