T20 World Cup 2021: Madan Lal questions India’s priority, World Cup or IPL, after early exit from T20 WC

India failed to make it to semi-final for the first time since 2012 | Getty Images

Former Indian cricketer and selector Madan Lal said that the Indian cricket team must decide what is more important to them- the Indian Premier League (IPL) or the World Cup.

He also said that the players should take a call on the matter after the Men in Blue’s early exit from the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.

New Zealand’s big win over Afghanistan on Sunday in Abu Dhabi confirmed India’s elimination from the semifinals of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup 2021. This was the first time since 2012 when Team India failed to make it into the knockouts of an ICC event.

Following India’s elimination, the former coach highlighted several reasons for the debacle at the T20 World Cup 2021. He opined that bio-bubble fatigue played a massive role in India’s poor performance in the ongoing T20 World Cup.

The 1983 World Cup winner also pointed out that the confusion over Hardik Pandya’s fitness was a disturbing one.

He also mentioned that the Indian players looked exhausted in the T20 World Cup 2021 because of too much cricket played in the past few months amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lal told IANS on Monday (November 8): “Bio-bubble fatigue actually played an important role here. It is not an excuse! Remember the India-New Zealand match. When the Kiwis were hitting the ball, it was going out of the park but when our players were hitting, it was going into the fielders’ hands. So, they were tired, there’s no doubt about that.”

He further explained, “They came directly to the World Cup after playing in the IPL. Before that, they were in England (for the Test series). Now that is the problem? They could have opted out of the league (IPL). They should have taken some rest before the World Cup.

I guess players need to decide what is more important for them, playing in major tournaments like World Cup or the IPL? It’s not just any series, it’s the World Cup. Also, we all know how different this (T20) format is. Too much action involved here. Look at the way fresh Pakistan is doing, England is playing.”

Highlighting the confusion over the all-rounder Pandya’s fitness as one of the reasons, the former cricketer questioned, “Was he fit or unfit? Will he bowl or not? Such confusions were disturbing.”

He also said that changing the top order – demoting Rohit Sharma to number three with Ishan Kishan opening alongside KL Rahul, pushing Virat Kohli to number 4 – for the crucial game against New Zealand was a “wrong” move while questioning why India didn’t play Rahul Chahar in the tournament.

Lal further said, “Whosoever has taken it (the decision), it was wrong. Rohit Sharma has been consistently performing well in the opening. How can you remove him from that position? Then Virat Kohli’s spot (No. 3) was also changed.

Bringing Shardul Thakur in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the right decision though. And I am not able to understand why leg spinner Rahul Chahar was not used in the tournament? Leg-spinners were crucial in the tourney.”

He also said Yuzvendra Chanal and Harshal Patel should have been picked for the T20 World Cup 2021.

The former batter added, “They (selectors) will announce the team for the New Zealand series and I think they will rest a few players. I heard that Yuzvendra Chanal will be included in the team now. I said earlier also that Chahal and Harshal Patel should be picked for the World Cup but it didn’t happen. They could have been useful in the tournament.”

Lal also believes that India needs to include new players in the team and nurture them, and the upcoming series against New Zealand may see a few new faces.

He signed off by saying, “There are no favorites in this format. Two-three good overs (batting-wise or bowling-wise) and the result could be different. We need to get some new guys in the team and nurture them.”