T20 World Cup 2021: For the first time, I saw fear on Indian batters’ faces: VVS Laxman

Indian batters looked scared against New Zealand, said VVS Laxman | Getty Images

Legendary Indian batter and commentator VVS Laxman was critical of the Indian cricket team’s poor performance against New Zealand in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, saying it was just sad to see the fear on the faces of the players last Sunday (October 31) in Dubai.

He insisted that it shouldn’t be an excuse for how superbly New Zealand bowled, but scoring just 110/7 was just not acceptable from Team India.

He further said that the players didn’t show any courage and positivity to bounce back from the humiliating defeat against Pakistan in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup 2021.

India lost Ishan Kishan (4) in the 3rd over, KL Rahul (18) in the 6th over while Rohit Sharma (14) in the 8th over, and even Virat Kohli was dismissed by playing a rash shot for just 6 and Laxman has pointed out that the way Indian wickets fell against the Kiwi attack, showed how they were hesitant and uncertain.

Reflecting back at India’s performance against New Zealand, the legendary batter said he saw fear on the batters’ faces for the first time and noted they miserably failed to execute their plans during their 8-wicket loss to the Kiwis, which badly dented their chances of making the semi-finals.

Laxman wrote in his column for Times of India, “To say that India’s batting against New Zealand was disappointing will be an understatement. Several times in the past few months, India has bounced back from setbacks with courage and positivity. It might have been in a different format, but resilience and self-belief are what one has come to expect of the current Indian side. None of that was on view in Dubai on Sunday.”

On India’s poor batting, he wrote: “India had so many things going for them leading into the tournament. There was the experience, great skill, and an understanding of what they would expect in the T20 World Cup, given that they had just finished playing in the IPL in the UAE. Armed with all that knowledge, you’d have expected India’s batsmen to give a better account of them.”

He continued, “110/7, no matter how superbly New Zealand bowled, is simply not acceptable. It will be interesting to know what target India had in mind when they went out to bat, and what was the communication from the openers to the dugout after the first couple of overs,”

For the first time in my recollection, I saw apprehension, if not fear, on the faces of the batsmen. They were hesitant and uncertain, and it reflected in faulty shot selection. Three wickets in the first eight overs didn’t help their cause against a New Zealand attack that bowled tight lines and gave nothing away. India would have come prepared with their plans to counter the Kiwi discipline, but those never manifested themselves on the park.”

Laxman signed off by saying, “As the runs dried up, the pressure on Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant mounted. Virat is usually the master at working the gaps and manipulating the field but it didn’t come off on this night. Rishabh is still on the learning curve, a free-striking batsman without fear but he must realize that transferring pressure on the bowlers need not be only through sixes.

India’s chances of making the semis hang by a slender thread. They have no choice but to go out and win their three remaining games handsomely to salvage their poor net run rate. That won’t be easy, but international sport necessitates you to shed the baggage of the past.”