Team India remains an enigma. They have the capability to win against all odds, but can also give up tamely when expected to win. India winning the last World Cup made 1/6th of the World population super-elated – just to emphasize the point, elation of this magnitude has never happened before in any sport. But that was then. A lot of changes have happened since. The biggest of them was Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement from the game. Ideally, there’s no one who can replace the little master. But India found a new youngster who can compete for that position and importance in the team – Virat Kohli. India is known to be a team who is perfect for an ODI or a T20 format irrespective of the pitch and conditions (assuming we can safely ignore the recent debacle down under).
Recent ODI Form – last 12 months *
Form in Australia – last 24 months *
Form in ODI World Cup events *
India has had a mixed-bag 12 months. They have had some great moments followed some mediocre phases. The point to note is that mediocre ones have come away from home. From a comparative standpoint, only two teams have performed better than India in the last 1 year – Australia and South Africa. India has won 14 of the last 24 ODIs played – a success % of 58.33. Most of their victories came against Sri Lanka (5 of them at home), Bangladesh and England (3 each), West Indies (2) and Afghanistan (1). This shows they either had home advantage or the opposition was relatively less talented (England being an exception). On the positive side, the scoring pattern is in line with how Australia has performed, the only difference being Australia has a much better bowling line-up. In Australian conditions, India has played 4 ODIs in the past 1 year (all 4 in the recently concluded tri-series where India failed to register a single victory). The data is too small to make a calculated judgement, but lack of a single win in Australia poses serious questions to India and what to expect from the team in the World Cup.
SWOT Analysis –
- Strengths –
- World class ODI batsmen in the squad
- Cool captain and (still) the best finisher in the world (cue: World Cup final 2011)
- Worldwide support (even in Australia). We Indians are everywhere!
- Weaknesses –
- Alien conditions and recent performance
- Non-performing bowlers
- Lack of confidence and momentum
- Opportunities –
- Can finish the pool at #2 or #1 especially considering the teams in the pool
- Knowledge of conditions since players have recently played in Australia
- Relatively lesser expectation considering the recent performances
- Threats –
- Unpredictable teams can diminish India’s chances of finishing higher in the pool
- IPL scam running in parallel can name some team players disrupting team harmony
Although India have been extremely poor off late, they cannot be ignored. Opposition teams know what this Indian team is capable of. A good start (against Pakistan, no less) will kick-start their campaign in style and the forgettable memories of the recent tri-series will soon fade. A loss against Pakistan, however, will be tougher to cope at a psychological level considering the importance of the match. If Indian bowlers can stand up to the pressure and expectation from the team / fans, we are in for a win-win situation! Indians fans will absolutely love it. From a marketing angle, the brands will enjoy more eye-balls. ICC will stand to gain with more ad revenue per 10 seconds. If the performance dips, all stand to lose. In that case, expect the Aussies / Proteas to hog the limelight. The revelations of the IPL betting scam may impact the performance too.
Team India claims we #WontGiveItBack. Hope we live up to our claim.
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* The above statistics have been compiled using http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ for the duration of 1 year or 2 years (based on the statistic) till 31st Jan 2015.