What cost Team India World Cup titles? Ravi Shastri answers
Ravi Shastri has etched his name as one of India's greatest coaches on the international circuit. India rose to strengths with each passing day, both in limited-overs and Tests. However, the former cricketer couldn't guide India to an ICC title over two successive coaching stints. Speaking about the same, Shastri pointed out the exact reasons for India's World Cup defeats.
In 2019, Team India's hopes of a World Cup win were quashed with the semi-final defeat to New Zealand. The Virat Kohli-led side succumbed to an eight-wicket defeat in the 2021 ICC World Test Championship final. India then crashed out of the group stage in the 2021 T20 World Cup. They failed to beat Pakistan and New Zealand in the first two fixtures.
"I have always wanted a guy who could bowl in top-6. And with Hardik[Pandya] getting injured, it became a massive problem. And it cost India. It cost India a couple of World Cups. Because we didn't have anyone who could bowl in the top six. So, that was a liability," Shastri said on air during the second ODI between India and WI on FanCode.
Fitness issues had ruled Hardik out of contention since last year's T20 World Cup. However, the all-rounder bounced back and how. He excelled across fronts in the Indian Premier League 2022 season. He led the Gujarat Titans to a title in their maiden run of the tourney. Hardik racked up 487 runs at 44.27. The right-armer clipped eight wickets, with best figures of 3/17.
Post IPL, Hardik was selected for the five-match T20Is against the Proteas. He belted 117 runs at 58.50. He led India to a 2-0 win in Ireland. In England, Hardik slammed 63 runs, including a 33-ball 51 in Southampton. He also managed five wickets He compiled 100 runs in the ODIs, comprising a match-winning 71 in the decider.
Hardik, who clocked his career-best ODI figures (4/24) in third ODI, went on to slam his eighth half-century in the format (71 off 55 balls). He became just the fourth Indian man to register the double of 50-plus runs and four-plus wickets in an ODI. Kris Srikkanth (1988), Sachin Tendulkar (1998), Sourav Ganguly (1999, 2000), and Yuvraj Singh (2008, 2011) have attained it earlier.
Hardik received the Player of the Series award after India's 2-1 win in ODIs against England. The Indian all-rounder slammed 100 runs and took six wickets at an incredible average of 12.33. He leaked just 74 runs from 17.0 overs.
Hardik has played 12 internationals for India in 2022. He has slammed 317 runs in these matches at a remarkable average of 45.28. The Indian all-rounder also owns 12 wickets at 20.08 (average difference of 25.20). Hardik has six wickets each in ODIs and T20Is. Interestingly, he has a four-wicket haul each in both white-ball formats this year.
Hardik was rested for the ongoing ODI series against West Indies. He will be seen in action in the five-match T20Is, commencing on July 29. India need the services of Hardik as it is the year of the T20 World Cup. Plus, he has terrific numbers in Australia, which make his selection a no-brainer in India's playing XI for the global event.