Former players lash out at India’s exit

Express May 13, 2010

KARACHI: India’s World Twenty20 campaign came to end much to the disappointment of the fans who saw their team peak at the start and lose it when it mattered more.

Afghanistan was crushed before South Africa was beaten as well. But in the Super Eight, India just could not perform. Former players lashed out at the 2007 champions’ exit from the tournament - twice in a row that they have failed to qualify for the semi-finals after winning the inaugural edition. Some have pointed out flaws in batting while others have blamed the Indian Premier League (IPL) for a sense of deluded comfort that was crushed by reality in the World Twenty20. MS Dhoni however, answered the IPL critics.

“I’ve had no setbacks because of the IPL but at the same time players need to be smart because IPL is not only about cricket. If you play late games and go to the parties and travel the next day it takes a toll.” Former Indian spinner Anil Kumble said that the IPL put Indians in a comfort zone. “Perhaps, the players felt more in their comfort zone and when they went back into an Indian set-up and it cost them. It sounds odd but it makes sense,” said Kumble. Another former spinner Ravi Shastri was critical of Dhoni’s captaincy. “At times you can be stubborn and stick to your ideas but he might want to be a little more flexible in future.”

India’s bowling was not that impressive either. Ashish Nehra took 10 wickets in five games but the next leading wicket-taker for India was Yusuf Pathan with four. “If you look at the number of players who have turned out for India over the past couple of years, there’s quality. Yet, they’ve all disappeared.” Saurav Ganguly, former Indian captain, also lashed out at individuals and warned that it was time for Yuvraj Singh to pull up his socks. “Yuvraj has to look at his game. If he doesn’t perform for long periods, the selectors will not play him just on the basis of his reputation.”

Published in the Express Tribune, May 14th, 2010