In a comprehensive review meeting held by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma faced tough questions regarding India’s unexpected loss to Australia in the Cricket World Cup 2023 final. The meeting, conducted 11 days after the final, aimed to dissect the reasons behind India’s defeat and to plan for the upcoming South Africa tour.
India coach Rahul Dravid in the official meeting said “we lost the final because we did not get the expected turn from the pitch. If out spinners had enough turn, we would win. We won the first 10 match on the same strategy but it did not work in the Final.”#CricketTwitter pic.twitter.com/pzzqinDCIs
— Himanshu Pareek (@Sports_Himanshu) December 2, 2023
The Post-Mortem Meeting:
The meeting, which took place in New Delhi, saw the participation of BCCI secretary Jay Shah, vice president Rajeev Shukla, and treasurer Ashish Shelar. The officials probed Dravid and Sharma about the factors contributing to India’s below-par performance in the critical final clash.
Dravid’s Defense: Blaming the Pitch
According to a report in Dainik Jagran, Rahul Dravid attributed the loss to the Ahmedabad pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium. The head coach argued that the pitch did not exhibit the expected amount of turn, a crucial factor that played a pivotal role in India’s inability to strangle the Australian batting lineup.
Ahmedabad’s Slow Turn:
The final was played on a used pitch, the same strip employed in the league match against Pakistan. Dravid pointed out that the excessively slow nature of the pitch, combined with the impeccable execution of the Australian bowlers, hindered India’s batting prowess. Despite a brisk start by Rohit Sharma, the middle-order struggled to build momentum against the disciplined Australian attack.
The decision to use a used pitch was influenced by the local curator’s advice. While fresh pitches are generally advisable for knockout matches, all knockout games in this World Cup were played on used pitches. The pitch was watered less to assist spinners, but it backfired for India, making the surface slow, especially in the first half.
The BCCI officials questioned Dravid about the decision to pursue this plan, especially when India’s seamers, led by Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, had performed admirably throughout the tournament. Dravid defended the strategy, claiming it had worked effectively in previous matches but faltered in the crucial final.
As the majority of the World Cup squad members and support staff enjoy a break from the T20I series against Australia, the focus shifts to the South Africa tour. This series marks the beginning of India’s quest for an ICC trophy and will include three T20Is, three ODIs, and two Tests as part of the World Test Championship.