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Javagal Srinath - Castled

Ishant Sharma is the future; should be adequately rested, feels Javagal Srinath

Friday, June 19, 2021
'All is not lost for India'

A consolation victory would have been nice. After all every one likes to end with a win, however inconsequential it may be, a win is a win. But I can understand the mental state of the Indian team. It was a match where one team was looking ahead to the semi-final while the other had nothing but to grapple with a sense of loss. Playing one more game after two back-to-back defeats is never easy and what the Indians had lost was the championship itself.

In this shortened game, it is all about seizing the moment. For instance, if a team is chasing a total in excess of 180 and it gets off to a good start, the batsmen following the openers are charged up and ready to even perform miracles if need be. Take the bouncers that shook our batsmen as an example. Had the first couple of them been hooked away by the top-order, then the threat would have been negated then and there. It is these incidents during various stages of the match, which switches the players on or off.

Of course, the corollary is also true and that is what hit the Indians hard. They didn’t have those couple of good moments early on in the Super 8s and they couldn’t reverse the trend thereafter.

Coming to the bowling and Ishant Sharma in particular, the young man has just taken his first steps in phase two of his career. Having started wonderfully, he’s now fighting to meet the high expectations that follow. Everyone goes through this, even the best of them and Ishant is certainly one with a lot of promise. Somehow, right from the New Zealand tour, he’s not been penetrative enough, not on the button as such. Maybe, just maybe, he’s a bit stale in the mind.

How does one overcome these issues? It is simple. Ishant is the future of Indian fast bowling and he’s got to get enough rest to retain his enthusiasm and hunger. Perhaps, the Indian selectors could have rested him too for the ODI series against the West Indies, like they did with Zaheer. There’s nothing like a decent break and a fresh start for everything to come together again.

For the team itself, they must treat the West Indies tour as a fresh beginning. All is not lost for this side and it was just one slip-up. Winning the cup last time makes these losses seem worse but if you look deep enough, you’ll see that it was just two losses (the third can be discounted) that put them out of the tournament.

Till the losses to West Indies and England, this team looked every bit a champion side that they still are. Even in those losses, had a couple of moments gone India’s way, who knows, we may have been celebrating a successful defense of the title in a few day’s time. That is the nature of cricket, more so instant cricket, and it has to be understood by fans and followers.