Former England captain Nasser Hussain and former New Zealand pacer Simon Doull minced no words in dissecting the reasons for India’s failure to win an ICC trophy for more than a decade now. Despite having one of the best teams on paper, India have had to return empty-handed from as many as six ICC events in white-ball cricket since their last triumph in the Champions Trophy way back in 2013 under MS Dhoni. In between, India have been the No.1-ranked ODI and T20I team on more than one occasion. They also have a stellar win percentage when it comes to bilateral cricket but the same has not been replicated in ICC events.
This is not to suggest India have been poor in World Cups and Champions Trophies. In fact, out of the six white-ball ICC tourneys since 2013, India have been in the finals two times and have made it to the semi-final in every event barring the T20 World Cup in 2021.
Clearly, it is the high-pressure knockout matches that have spelt India’s doom. Hussain and Doull said they haven’t been fearless in the big matches.
“Fearless cricket is their issue. “They don’t play fearless cricket enough,” Doull told Sky Sports during a discussion that also involved Hussain and England’ 2019 World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan.
Doull, now a renowned broadcaster, said the India cricketers are more worried about statistics rather than the outcome of the match. “They play statistics-driven cricket and they are too worried about their stats too often. And to me that is the one area I am concerned about their batting side,” he said. “They have got all the talent and some of the best players if not the best players in the world. But it is about playing the fearless cricket at the right time of the tournament and I think that is what had really let them down in the last few World Cups.
The former New Zealand pacer said the fear of being criticised can be one of the reasons why the big names of Indian cricket fail to express themselves in the ICC events.
“They don’t go out there and and take risks because they are so worried about what might be said or what might be printed or what might someone ask them about their place in the team. That’s the one area I am concerned with,” he said.
‘Need to play fearless cricket in knockout gams’: Hussain
Hussain said India need to be above par in knockout games instead of settling for a mediocre score like they did in the past.
“They got to go above par they have got to play a bit of fearless cricket, When you get to the knockouts stage. I think they are in the knockout stage, when they got to a semifinal and the pressure is on that’s when they still need to play fearless cricket,” he said.
The former England captain, however, said India has one of the strongest squads heading into the ODI World Cup at home. “If you look at the squad I mean they have got two of the greatest white ball batters, there has ever been in the game. Rohit Sharma has three double hundreds in this format and Virat Kohli is a great player in any situation but the greatest player in a run chase you would want.
“You have got possibly one of the future greats in Shubman Gill, he is a real talent. Jasprit Bumrah coming back for them is an outstanding bonus because he bowls in all phases of the game. I think that batting line-up and the bowlers they have is right up there one of the best squad in the tournament,” he said.