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The biggest shock for India and their fans in the 2021 World T20 was their virtual exit from the tournament after they suffered their second straight defeat. India tried to make up for it by hammering minnows in their next three games, but by then it was too late. Hoping Afghanistan to beat New Zealand for India to sneak in into the semis was not expected of a world-class team. So, what really went wrong with India’s campaign in the 2021 World T20?

Cricwizz takes a look.

No role clarity

It was apparent from the first game itself that there was no role clarity in the Indian playing XI. India fielded an all-rounder in Hardik Pandya who played as a specialist batsman as he was not fit for bowling. That depleted India's bowling plans as they went in with four specialist bowlers, and a batsman-spin all-rounder. India’s poor bowling resources were torn apart by strong teams in Pakistan and New Zealand. 

Again, in the second game against New Zealand, Rohit Sharma was demoted to third, while Ishan Kishan partnered with KL Rahul at the top. The move failed miserably as none of the three had a clear role in whether to go all-out attack or anchor the innings. The result was that India produced their worst batting performance in T20I in years as they were restricted to just 110/7.

Fatigue - physical and mental

Team India ICC World T20 2021
Team India - ICC Facebook page

India assembled a squad whose every player was plying their trade for their respective franchise in IPL 2021’s second phase just days before the World T20. There was no time to relax and rejuvenate or regroup as Team India before the players took the field against Pakistan. In fact, India has been living in this bio-bubble for quite some time and has been on the road since June when they toured England for the WTC final and the Test series. Mental and physical fatigue had set in, and it was visible in the players’ body language. 

Squad selection

Selectors chose the India squad on the basis of experience and past records, and not on current form. So, there was Bhuvneshwar Kumar who was in such poor form that he was not even considered for selection in SRH XI in IPL 2021. But in-form bowlers such as Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, and even YS Chahal who had done exceptionally well in the second phase of IPL 2021 were given a cold shoulder. An unfit bowler in all-rounder Pandya was preferred over an in-form all-rounder in Shardul Thakur. And it’s no secret why India failed miserably in World T20 2021.

Not ‘brave’ enough 

Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli - ICC Facebook page

The first two losses sealed the fate of India in the World T20 campaign. And the reason was given by Team India captain Virat Kohli himself for the team’s failure. Kohli said that they were simply "not brave" enough, be it batting or bowling. When they played against Pakistan, the loss of openers and three wickets in powerplay saw them move into a defensive mode, and they just could not dominate the bowling attack and ended up with a sub-par total. 

"I don't think we were brave enough with bat or ball. We were not brave enough with our body language,"

-Virat Kohli

In the clash against New Zealand, their attitude while batting was alarming as they adopted a safety-first approach, with Rohit was demoted to No 3 to protect him from the left-arm pace bowling of Trent Boult. It was a batting approach that was doomed to be a failure. Even while bowling, India lacked the intent to take wickets and were easy fodder for Pakistan and New Zealand batsmen. 

Overall, it was a complete team’s failure in World T20. Although India made amends in their last three games, it came too late.