Much Ado About Hardik Pandya and India’s Loss in the Caribbean  

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There is a lot of talk about India losing the T20 series to West Indies. Hardik Pandya, the go-to man after the Indian Premier League (IPL), is all of a sudden a poor captain. Shubman Gill, the best man to take over from Virat Kohli, is now in the firing line. Rahul Dravid is the worst coach, and this side has no real chance in the T20 World Cup next summer in the Caribbean and the USA.


India won every bilateral series there was to win in the last few years. None of it translated into ICC event success. India still faltered. While there is nothing to say that India will win next year, to say that this defeat means all is lost is not fair either.

The truth is, India will lose. In getting things right, they will finish second-best in some games. Why did Hardik choose to bat after chasing well in the fourth game? It was because he need to do so. Trophies are only won when you can step out of your comfort zone. If you don’t do it now, when will you do it? Now, you know that you aren’t comfortable batting first. You need to work on it much more.

India played someone like Sanju Samson for a few games. Is he the answer in this format? There was a lot of talk about Samson not getting enough opportunities. The truth is, despite all the talent, he hasn’t really justified his India selection. We now know that.

This debate about Hardik being a bad captain is actually fascinating. First, it was about removing Rohit Sharma and going to Hardik. He had all the answers. Now it is about getting rid of Hardik. Who does one go to? Virat Kohli? Is he the answer? As captain, he didn’t win an ICC event either. And he certainly isn’t the future in this format. Does India have a better bet than Hardik to turn to? Does losing against the West Indies make him a bad captain?

India, like many other teams, is currently in transition. And India have never really played cutting-edge T20 cricket in the last few years. Losing to England last year in the T20 World Cup was evidence enough of that. But will this setback impact the Asia Cup and the World Cup?

Also Read:Samson reaches milestone of 6000 T20 runs

The answer is a resounding no. India is a much better 50-overs team. And on home soil, things will be different. The last two ICC event successes have both come in the 50-overs format, and to extrapolate the West Indies defeat to suggest that the World Cup will go south is wrong. The World Cup has nothing to do with this series. And it’s the same for the Asia Cup.

What India and the team management need to do is focus on the 50-overs format now. In fact, this whole T20 series with 50-overs games in focus was not even needed. Why should India play eight T20s with the Asia Cup and World Cup just weeks away? Isn’t that the core issue rather than lamenting an inconsequential series loss?

I am not even suggesting that India will be favorites for the World Cup. They won’t. But at the same time, it is fair to say this loss will have little or no bearing. And it is also reasonable to say that Hardik hasn’t done anything to suggest he is not good enough. And as the arrows get sharpened for Dravid, think back to a time when he was viewed as a messiah. Ravi Shastri was the root of all evil then, called every name under the sun. Now, it’s poor Dravid’s turn. Social media abuse has become like a game of musical chairs.

In sport, you will lose more and that’s the truth. One bilateral series loss doesn’t make India the worst team. Just like many bilateral series wins did not make India the best team either. The same critics who are now castigating the team had suggested then that all was well. Indian cricket is in the best shape. And if you were critical of the team in ICC events, your parentage was questioned. Now, it’s fashionable to criticise. Hardik is a soft target. If you aren’t critical now, how will you get social media likes? At a time when flippant social media discourse rules our lives, you need to be seen to swim with the flow. Else, the trolls will jump on you. For the next few days, God save Hardik.

Also Read: King, bowlers headline West Indies’ series win

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