Despite boasting some of the finest cricketers of the current era, the Indian cricket team has not been able to win an ICC trophy in 10 years. This has led to much debate and introspection, with former cricketers and pundits offering their own assessments of the problem. One of the most common criticisms of the Indian team is that they play too cautiously, especially in knockout matches. Former New Zealand fast bowler Simon Doull believes that this is due to a fear of failure.
“Fearless cricket is their issue,” Simon Doull said on Sky Sports. “They don’t play fearless cricket enough. They play statistics driven cricket and they are too worried about their stats too often. And to me that is the one area I am concerned about their batting side. They have got all the talent and some of the best players if not the best players in the world.”
He further added, “But it is about playing fearless cricket at the right time of the tournament and I think that is what had really let them down in the last few World Cups. They don’t go out there and take risks because they are so worried about what might be said or what might be printed or what might someone ask them about their place in the team. That’s the one area I am concerned with.”
Nasser Hussain agreed with Simon Doull’s assessment, adding that India seem to withdraw their fearless approach in knockout games.
“The other thing that they will have to overcome is the pressure,” Nasser Hussain said. “Now you would argue that an Indian cricketer is under pressure all the time. But where they have fallen short maybe since 2011 (2013 Champions Trophy) in the ICC events is when they reach to knockout stage.
“We were there at the Adelaide in the World T20, where they scored a below par score against England and England knocked them off (by ten wickets). In the 2019 World Cup semifinal against New Zealand on a pitch that was doing a little bit, they prodded along. They got to go above par and they have got to play a bit of fearless cricket, when you get to the knockouts stage. When they get to a semifinal and the pressure is on that’s when they still need to play fearless cricket.”
Nasser Hussain also felt that India don’t have enough utility allrounders either.
“What they probably lack is if you look at their batters, their batters don’t bowl and their bowlers don’t bat. So it’s a different make up to their side to be with an England with all the all-rounders present or Australia with all of their all-rounders.”
In addition to these factors, it is also worth noting that India have been unlucky on occasion in ICC tournaments. For example, in the 2019 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, they were bowled out for 221, which was a below-par score on a difficult pitch. However, they had the game in their hands when they reduced New Zealand to 146/5, but a crucial partnership between Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson turned the match in New Zealand’s favor.