Indian cricket team’s reward for process and persistence

For a long time, this is a team that has put faith in processes, which showed at the Kensington Oval. They have been the most consistent white-ball team at ICC events.
India's head coach Rahul Dravid, centre left, celebrates with players and team support staff with the winners trophy after defeating South Africa in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final cricket match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, Saturday, June 29, 2024.
India's head coach Rahul Dravid, centre left, celebrates with players and team support staff with the winners trophy after defeating South Africa in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup final cricket match at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, Saturday, June 29, 2024.Photo | AP

The ICC title drought is finally over. For once, India found themselves on the right side of a nail-biting, pendulum-swinging end to a big match. When they woke up on Sunday morning, they did so with a huge weight off their shoulders. With 30 needed from as many balls for South Africa to win a first ever senior men’s World Cup on Saturday, it seemed as if another opportunity had slipped away. But Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh and Hardik Pandya, between them, conjured magic—with a helping hand from Suryakumar Yadav—to give the country their fourth World Cup across two white-ball formats.

For a long time, this is a team that has put faith in processes, which showed at the Kensington Oval. They have been the most consistent white-ball team at ICC events. In the last two events, they have won 17 of the 19 games (one loss against Australia in the 50-over final and one no-result against Canada in this edition). This triumph is a result of their consistency as much as anything else. It’s also been a long time coming. In the process, it has also vindicated the faith reposed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in two of the country’s biggest ever superstars, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

At various points over the last two years or so, their places in the side—especially in this format—have been questioned. But Jay Shah, secretary, doubled down. In fact, he announced that Sharma would captain the World Cup side a good few months before the tournament. Sharma had just overseen back-to-back losses in two ICC finals in 2023 and he had just lost his power at Mumbai Indians, his IPL franchise. But having put their trust behind him, they saw it through. If Sharma is the architect of this win, credit must also go to Rahul Dravid.

The coach, in his final assignment, reserved best for the last. When he came into the job, he had to multi-task; identify youngsters capable of walking into the team, marshall the workload of the bowlers, ensure a transition of sorts, and get India an ICC title. That he has managed the last bit without compromising on the first three tasks shouldn’t be lost. With Kohli and Sharma walking away from the format, it allows the BCCI an opportunity to take stock of the situation going forward. With another 50-over ICC event round the corner -- in Pakistan in less than eight months time -- there lies an opportunity for a famous double.

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