Defending champions India surrendered the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy meekly to arch-rivals Pakistan at the Oval on Sunday. Although they were the favorites, India did not live up to expectations disappointing their 1.2 billion fans back home as well as supporters at the Oval. What will hurt apart from losing to arch-rivals Pakistan is the manner of defeat. The Indians made far too many errors in a championship final to recover.
Bad Decision 1: Asking Pakistan To Bat
Kohli won the toss and surprised many by asking Pakistan to bat. The conditions were perfect and Pakistan took full advantage by notching up 338 runs. They never looked back and India felt the pressure chasing, losing wickets at regular intervals before collapsing for just 158.
Bad Decision 2: Bowling Errors
India’s bowling was one of its biggest strengths in the ICC Champions Trophy but come the final, the bowlers apart from B Kumar and H Pandya lost the plot. J Bumrah was the main culprit bowling a number of no-balls and conceding 68 runs of his 9 overs. The spin twins were unable to take wickets or restrict the run rate and sent down a combined 18 overs for 137 runs and were wicketless. The fact that Kohli continued to bowl Ashwin and Jadeja without experimenting with Y Singh or R Sharma was also baffling.
Bad Decision 3: Negative Body Language Display
Kohli who is usually positive with his body language looked troubled and pre-occupied when India was fielding. He had a right to be frustrated with his bowlers but his demeanor sets the stage for the other players and India did not look like a unit. Whether it was dressing room issues with coach Kumble or the fact that the Pakistanis were outplaying them – the body language showed that India were feeling the heat.
Bad Decision 4: Selection Choices
When India defeated Pakistan in the earlier stage of the competition, U Yadav played in place of R Ashwin. This time R Ashwin played and looked unfit and ineffective. Y Singh also looked sluggish in the field throughout the competition and apart from one innings was ineffective with the bat. MS Dhoni who was once reliable down the order is past his prime and if India want to prepare for the 2019 World Cup it might be time for the selectors to take a tough call and blood new talent as the likes of R Pant, KL Rahul, M Pandey and M Tiwari should be given a go.