India head coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli will play their last match in their roles as Men in Blue will play Namibia in their last group stage match on Monday. Kohli & Co will look to finish on a high as a tribute to two big contributors to Indian cricket. It is the first instance since 2012 that India failed to enter the semifinals of an ICC event.
Against Namibia, they will surely win it big and skipper Kohli would do a world of good if he allows the likes of Rahul Chahar to get a game and give Ishan Kishan another go.
Very rarely has an Indian team played such an inconsequential game at an ICC event since its last league game in the 1992 World Cup against South Africa after already being out of the race for the semi-finals.
It’s not the first time that India are out of a global tournament before the last four stages but never has it been so frustrating where one could clearly read the writing on the wall.
India lost two crucial tosses, batted awfully in slightly, if not very, testing conditions and then on a dew-laden surface bowled atrociously.’ It was as if the heavens had conspired that nothing should go well for the team after it had a great run in England. And that is something that will hurt Shastri, a proud man, who has done his bit to make this a formidable all-condition Test team with a lethal fast bowling attack.
India might have failed to lift off an ICC title but Ravi Shastri’s coaching saw India Test team beat Australia twice in their backyard, tie Test series (ongoing) against England and challenge South Africa and New Zealand in the limited-overs format.
In his coaching, India have won 13 out of 21 Tests, 43 out of 60 ODIs and 25 T20 Internationals out of 36 on his watch.
For Kohli, who is all set to even lose his ODI captaincy in the coming days, this wasn’t how he would have liked to end his T20 captaincy stint with the national team having already quit IPL captaincy.
It is also the first time since the 2013 Champions Trophy that an Indian men’s team has failed to reach at least the semi-final stage of an ICC event. They were champions in the 50 over Champions Trophy in 2013, followed by runners-up finish in T20 World Cup in 2014. In the 2015 ODI World Cup, the team lost in the semifinals. The 2016 T20 World Cup saw them reach the last four stages while they lost to Pakistan in the 2017 final of the 50-over Champions Trophy.
In 2019, their ODI World Cup campaign ended in the semi-final and the two-year-long World Test Championship also ended in a final defeat.
A combination of factors led to this debacle and if Kohli’s poor captaincy and selection is one factor, the problems were certainly compounded by players like Hardik Pandya, who did not reveal the full extent of their fitness status to the national selectors. While Pandya did show his original self against Afghanistan, he would get very little credit for that performance after failing to score as a pure batter against quality attacks like Pakistan and New Zealand.
It is still not clear whether Kohli will be seen as a one-format captain in Test matches but his performance in the last four ICC tournaments leave a lot to be desired.
Now that he is approaching mid-30s and showing signs of playing a conservative game, one can only hope that with eleven months left for the next T20 World Cup, India would start with a fresh slate and fresher approach.
India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Varun Chakaravarthy, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
Namibia: Stephan Baard, Craig Williams, Gerhard Erasmus (c), David Wiese, JJ Smit, Zane Green (wk), Michael van Lingen, Karl Birkenstock, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Ruben Trumpelmann, Bernard Scholtz
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy, Shardul Thakur
Namibia: Gerhard Erasmus (c), Stephen Baard, Karl Birkenstock. Michau du Preez, Jan Frylinck, Zane Green, Nicol Lofie-Eaton, Bernard Scholtz, Ben Shikongo, JJ Smit, Ruben Trumpelmann, Michael van Lingen, David Wiese, Craig Williams and Pikky Ya France.
Match Starts 7:30 pm IST.