Why India was successful at the world T20


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By Gaurav Joshi

While Sri Lanka stopped team India from becoming the first team to win the WT20 twice it is fair to say that India performed above expectations by reaching the final of the WT20.

Before the tournament India might have been the 2nd favourite to take out the title with the betting agencies but to the rest of the cricketing public a semi-final berth would have been a somewhat of a marvel.

The three factors everyone expected India to dwindle were bowling, lack of T20 specialists and the controversies that were hovering over India cricket.   We take a look at how India resolute performance eradicated these glaring issues.

1. Bowling

Bowling has been the achillis heal of India cricket for as long as one can imagine and probably will continue to do so, but it amazing to see is how well Indian bowlers can perform when the pitches offer turn and are not benign batting wickets.

As was the case during the Champions Trophy only eight months ago, the pitches in Dhaka offered enough turn to keep the bowlers interested and all of sudden India became a threat.

Credit needs to be given to the captain as despite Varun Aaron impressive warm up outings he persisted with three spinner’s strategy, something that has been out of comfort zone in the shorter format of the game.

Adding the attacking leg spinner,  Amit Mishra to his spinning artillery allowed India to play attacking cricket with the ball. All of a sudden taking wickets was the primary goal and the ”˜run containment’ ideology was deferred. It worked in all three group matches and it ensured India gained confidence in the bowling department.

All of a sudden India looked threatening and pressure the bowlers employed allowed India to be a success in the tournament.

2. T20 Specialists to All-round specialists

One of the reason India was successful in the first ever T20 World Cup seven years ago was because they chose a team that was young, nonchalant and were not weighed by any expectations. They were seen as the new generation of players that were cut out for T20 cricket. Interestingly, similar approaches were not conducted for the next three world cup and that was seen as one of the reasons India failed at the 2009, 2010 and 2012 tournaments.

This time around the core group of 2007 team that at the time were seen as T20 specialist had now matured into Test calibre. Dhoni, Yuvraj, Raina and Sharma had learned to mould their game styles to a particular situation.

Add to it the exceptional rise of Kohli, the Indian batting line up at the 2014 world cup were not just bold stroke makers but a calculated, efficient and astute. It proved to be such a value as the team never looked deterred in any situation.

On pitches that slightly assisted the bowlers, the world Cup was not all about power hitting and having batsmen that were multi-dimensional certainly helped India.

3.  Controversy and Leadership

It seems controversies off the field unite and reignite team India. The news of match fixing allegations broke out in the middle of the tournament; MS Dhoni kept things in check and ensured the primary focus was on winning.

While India might have fallen at the last hurdle, one thing the performance proved was that the team can divert its attention solely on cricket.   They had proved it eight months ago during Champions Trophy victory as that too came during the spot fixing controversy.

MS Dhoni tactics on the field are constantly under the spotlight but off the field his leadership is off a true chief.   This can be evident in the manner Dhoni appeared for the three post game conferences when India won. Generally, it is the man of the match that attends or another senior player but knowing the unstable situation relating to match fixing probe, Dhoni confronted the media himself,  protecting his team members. It was sign of a man who is willing to protect his team.

Perhaps it was through Dhoni’s sheer presence and leadership that allowed the players to stay focus on the job in hand.   The Indian captain deserves credit for his role off the field.

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