India missed a trick by not selecting Rayudu for the World Cup, says Malhar Sanghaci

From a dominant league stage campaign to a shock exit in the semifinal, Malhar Sanghaci reviews team India's run in ICC Cricket World Cup.

Kohli

After a strong start its World Cup campaign, India was stunned by the Kiwis in the semifinal, thereby bowing out of title contention.   -  Getty Images

The Cricket World Cup has been an absolutely scintillating tournament. It is the biggest stage in the sport and everybody wants to prove a point.

The Indian team went to England as favourites, but I would say they did miss a trick by not taking Ambati Rayudu.

The first few games for India were pitch perfect. They had a convincing victory against the Aussies. Then there was a huge build-up ahead of the India vs Pakistan tie. What a match for the Indians. They showed supremacy all around. They were dominant all the way through. After which came that nail-biting win against Afghanistan with Mohammed Shami registering a hat-trick to his name.

READ : Dejected, Ambati Rayudu bids goodbye

The match against West Indies was one-sided. But in the game against England, India confronted flaws in its line-up, taking those lessons forward as it experimented with the playing Xi against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Easy victories followed.

Coming into the semifinals though, India was still not too sure of its playing combination and the game turned out to be a disappointment for players and the fans as they lost to New Zealand.

A big surprise to me was that Ravindra Jadeja did not play right from the beginning of the tournament. Virat Kohli, the best batsman in the world, was playing absolutely flawlessly till he got to the 60s and 70s after which he would throw away his wicket. He consistently struggled to convert those half centuries into three-digit scores.

One of the biggest questions India was facing throughout the tournament was what its bowling combination should look like. Should they have chosen three pacers and one spinner or two of each, or go with a three-two pacer-spinner combination?

READ : Ravi Shastri has to reapply for India coach position

Bhuvneshwar Kumar had a good run against Australia and Shami had played well against Afghanistan. India chose to go with Kumar which, I would say, was a smart decision as he is economical and can swing the ball on both sides. swings the ball both sides.

The world's best ODI bowler, Jasprit Bumrah, was at his best. Rohit Sharma too was in the form of his life, scoring five tons in this edition. India were favourites against New Zealand but they ended up losing a close contest in which India’s top order failed. Even a late resurgence by M.S. Dhoni and Jadeja wasn't enough to get the Men in Blue through.

India’s highs this World Cup: 

Our biggest positive was our bowling. In most games, the bowling performances were good and tight. Rohit Sharma was the pick of the batsmen this time and K.L. Rahul came around to supporting him well at the top. Fielding and overall fitness of the playing XI was also good through the tournament, Jadeja especially proving very useful in the field.

India's lows in this World Cup:

India's dependence on the top order proved costly, especially when Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the World Cup. This is rumoured to be M.S.Dhoni's last World Cup but the legend did not click as well as he was expected to. The number four debate continues and India brought in quite a few immature players like Rishabh Pant.

India had quite a good World Cup on the whole and the nation is certainly proud of team. Despite the disappointment in the end, they played some really good cricket and battled their way out and overpowered some quality opposition.

M.S.Dhoni the legend is going to missed by Indian cricket. Called 'Captain Cool,' he is an absolute genius behind the stumps and the best finisher of all time. Virat Kohli will have to step up in the future, especially in the big games.

A good World Cup journey comes to an end. The fans will have to dream on for another four years. 
 

The writer is a class nine student from Mumbai.

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