#NewsBytesExplainer: Why does Team India falter in ICC tournaments?
Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir recently stated that Team India lacks the ability to handle pressure in knockout games. Gambhir said the other teams have fared better than India in crunch moments lately. Notably, the Men in Blue are yet to win an ICC trophy after 2013. Let us analyze why India have faltered in the ICC tournaments in recent past.
India last won an ICC trophy under MS Dhoni (CT 2013). In 2014, they were denied victory by SL in the World T20 final. A year later, Australia trounced India in the WC semi-final. The Caribbeans spoiled India's campaign in World T20 (2016) semi-final, while the 2017 CT final saw Pakistan crushing India. Last year, India were knocked out of WC by the Kiwis.
India have lost as many as five knockout games since 2013 (two finals and three semi-finals). Three matches have been lost during a run-chase, while India were defeated in the others while defending. Captain Virat Kohli scored fifty on two occasions with Hardik Pandya (CT 2017) and Ravindra Jadeja (WC 2019) shining once. Clearly, the Indian team has failed to perform as a unit.
Virat Kohli's scores in three run-chases read as - 1, 5 and 1. Notably, he was dismissed by left-arm seamers (Mitchell Johnson, Mohammad Amir and Trent Boult) in these matches. Besides, in the other two games, Kohli scored 77 and 89*.
The Indian batting line-up has been over dependant on the top three, especially in the ICC tournaments. Interestingly, Kohli has scored most number of runs in such matches since 2014 among Indians. He is followed by Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan in the tally. The trio shares 4,117 runs between them with the others in the top 10 having amassed 2,535 runs together.
Following the 2015 WC, the team management tried several batsman at number four, but failed to discover one. The particular spot became a headache for the selection committee and continued to make headlines. The selection debacle even forced Ambati Rayudu to retire after Vijay Shankar's appointment. The rotation of players in the middle order has led to India's batting failure of late.
So far, only Dhoni has looked settled in the middle order, having aggregated 716 runs at 51.14. Other middle order batsmen in the list are Suresh Raina (388), Hardik Pandya (347), Ajinkya Rahane (302), Yuvraj Singh (257), Ravindra Jadeja (164) and Kedar Jadhav (114).