CWC 2019 Flashback: The unsolved mystery that dented India’s solid campaign


Every single player of the Indian cricket team believed that 2019 was the year they’d bring the World Cup home. They were not the only ones. A billion Indian fans also believed in the dream. After all, this Indian team was the strongest unit in terms of talent, skill and fitness to a great extent. This bunch of performers knew how to win crunch matches under high pressure and they did so consistently throughout the league stage. With 7 wins in 9 matches played and a position atop the points table, India were more than favourites to win the coveted trophy. But it wasn’t to be.

What went wrong?

India lost Shikhar Dhawan (their only left-handed batsman) and Vijay Shakhar (the designated No.4), early in the tournament. KL Rahul, who was finally settling into the No.4 slot, had to open alongside Rohit Sharma. Once again, the most talked-about position in the Indian line-up was left vacant. Young Rishabh Pant was then thrown into the mix and was suddenly expected to live up to the reputation of a No.4 batsman. To be fair, the southpaw tried hard. But India knew their middle order would be exposed sooner or later when their best batsmen had an off day. India’s top three scored the bulk of the runs in the league stage, but it was in the semi-final that the middle order’s fragility cost them the game. Kuldeep Yadav’s poor run continued from the IPL, with India eventually dropping him towards the end.

What went right?

For a change, India’s batting did not revolve much around their best batsman, Virat Kohli. Rohit Sharma had a splendid tournament with a record 5 hundreds to his name. The flamboyant opener displayed solid temperament and held the batting unit together, even in Dhawan’s absence.

Jasprit Bumrah was relentless with the ball, leading a solid pace attack and proving his mettle on the biggest stage. India’s journey to the knockouts was smooth-sailing and that was mainly because they stuck to their plans and backed all the players.

Find of the tournament 

This was his first World Cup under unexpected circumstances and he responded well. Besides his habitual throwing away of good starts, Rishabh Pant batting at No.4 gave a new ray of hope to Indian cricket. With MS Dhoni at the fag end of his career, Pant will be officially taking over the wicket-keeping duties in the near future. As someone with an attacking mindset, he might just be the answer to India’s middle-order woes, provided he can grind it out.

Areas for improvement

It’s time to admit it. There’s life beyond MS Dhoni. If India can iron out their middle-order wrinkles and groom a solid finisher in Hardik Pandya, they’re set to dominate world cricket for a long time. With a stable top order and a world-class bowling attack, India are already a force to reckon with. Their idea of going in with two spinners may not always work in their favour. Kohli will need to be a lot more flexible with team combinations from a tactical point of view.