How the mighty have fallen. India despite all efforts by Afghanistan has crashed out of the world 20/20 cup. The IPL rich Indians with the strut of Champions bowed out of the tournament ignominiously. A fortnight made such a difference. When the tournament started India was the overwhelming favorite, had the look of champions about them, and has been in UAE for more than a month to play IPL.
It was considered a foregone conclusion that India will play in the semifinals and for some, it was even a foregone conclusion that they will win the tournament. Their world came crashing down when they played Pakistan and got a hiding from them. That scared & scarred the Indians so much that they kind of sleepwalked through a defeat from New Zealand.
New Zealand brushed aside Afghanistan to show India the exit door
They must have loved the friendly Afghan team who kind of played a festival match against them and handed them an overwhelming victory. That woke up the Indians and they truly walloped Scotland making the dream of making semifinals a possible mathematical probability. But the meek & subservient New Zealander when abandoning the Pakistan tour suddenly got aggressive when their own interest was threatened.
It seems almost impossible when you look at the Indian team with their splendor, riches of IPL, the aura of invincibility, the media hype & build up but if a deep analysis is done with cricketing logic it was “fait accompli” and all signs of an Indian crash was there for all to see. Initially, it was the Indian media that dug a pit of disaster for them. The unprofessional TRP chasing shout-oriented Indian media arrogantly hyped up the team as almost having won the tournament already. They shouted from the rooftop that all the opposition will be beaten out of sight and India is there to just win the tournament.
That created very high expectations from the Indian team and put the team under enormous pressure. The team management did claim that they are ignoring all the hype and are not at all affected by it but the truth of it is that all the cacophony did get under their skin & stretched their nerve to the breaking point. This is actually the reason for their near-paralysis against New Zealand.
IPL: the money-spinner of the cricket world?
In marketing parlance, it is said that the strength of a company eventually turns into weakness contributing to the demise of the company. Thus, the Indian Premier League, or IPL as it is generally known, is supposedly the strength of the Indian team. IPL the money-spinner for world cricket which gave the Indian team so many players and contributed to the development of Indian cricket actually was a major factor in the debacle that India faced in the tournament. India, due to commercial interest preferred to play IPL as practice for the world tournament while most of the other teams played some international cricket.
IPL is the most glamourous, Bollywood sprinkled brand of cricket where cricketing displays compete against the display of glamour. All the major players of the world participate in IPL but all said and done is franchise-based club cricket. The practice of playing IPL can never rival the practice from international matches. The commercial interest-oriented decision from the BCCI to stop Indian cricketers from participating in any other league deprived them of getting experience of different conditions and taking a look at rising players.
Add to that the inexplicable, vicious & silly decision of instructing the franchise not to pick any Pakistani player not only lowered the standard of IPL as how can a world-class tournament not have Rizwan Babar Shaheen and Haris? In the first match, it was so evident that Indians don’t have enough knowledge about Shaheen Afridi and don’t know the modules Operandi of the Rizwan Babar partnership. Indians were taken by surprise and it was an unpleasant surprise. A franchise has a larger pool from where they can take players and assign them roles according to the need of the tournament.
Disappointment towards India
In international games you have a smaller pool to choose from and thus usually don’t have a duplicate set of players to choose from for one role. In IPL Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli can be very successful playing the same role for different teams but when playing for one team in India if they are assigned the same role it creates a problem. Indians were arrogant enough not to try out their combination for international matches before going into a tournament. They kind of expected everything to fall into place. They expected the fantasy scenarios of IPL with the glamour and cheesecake as a priority & small boundaries & different levels of players making it easy to pull out fantasy performance. Those expectations, those fantasies, the world of glamour IPL just took two balls from Shaheen Afridi to be destroyed.
India spent the last twelve years trying their best to sabotage Pakistan cricket. Not the players but the management with maybe a tacit approval from the Indian Government. They worked so hard to achieve isolation for Pakistan cricket. An unofficial IPL ban extended for some time even to Pakistani immigrant cricketers, offering tours to countries willing to play Pakistan, not playing Pakistan at the international level, even stooping to the level of rumor-mongering & terrorism threats to hurt Pakistan cricket. Well, the chicken has come home to roost, hasn’t it?
The Indian board must realize the immense damage that they are doing to Indian cricket in particular and world cricket in general. It’s time for them to open up and allow a few Indian players NOC to play in other leagues & understand once and for all that after all the razzmatazz glamour cheesecake hype and what not IPL is just a franchise-based club cricket competition.
The author has worked for Unilever for 25 years. He is a professional translator/interpreter of five languages and is also a certified computer trainer. He is currently living in Virginia, USA. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.