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India the most under-performing white-ball team in history, says former England captain Michael Vaughan

Ex-England skipper Nasser Hussain writes that India were “too timid” in the T20 World Cup semi-final

Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, has called India the “most under-performing white-ball team in history” while another ex-England skipper, Nasser Hussain, has termed their mindset as “too timid” after their 10-wicket hammering in the T20 World Cup semi-final at Adelaide Oval on Thursday. Both Vaughan and Hussain termed India’s style of T20 cricket as “dated” and “old-fashioned.”

“India are the most under-performing white-ball team in history. Every player in the world who goes to the Indian Premier League says how it improves their game but what have India ever delivered?” Vaughan wrote in The Telegraph.

“Since winning the 50 over World Cup on home soil in 2011 what have they done? Nothing. India are playing a white-ball game that is dated and have done for years…

“Even in their own backyard at the 2016 World T20 they did not reach the final. They were nowhere last year. This time it took an outrageous innings by Virat Kohli, probably the best in T20 of all time, to beat Pakistan in the group stages. They massively underachieve for their skill levels.”

In Daily Mail, Hussain wrote that India’s issue was not personnel, but mindset. “It’s not India’s personnel. It’s their mindset. Rohit Sharma is one of the greatest white-ball batters there has ever been and KL Rahul would be in any list of the best T20 players in the world. Then add Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik and Rishabh Pant,” Hussain wrote.

“You are talking about an array of world-class talent and there is no way that batting line-up should have been 66 for two [62 for 2] at the halfway mark of a T20 innings in a semi-final…

“The contrast between the two teams in their respective power-plays could not be more stark. I had said in these pages that India at the top of the order still play a bit of an old-fashioned game and even their former coach Ravi Shastri talked of the need for them to change when he worked for Sky last summer.

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“Yet they were still too timid. India must have known they would need to get an above par score against this England batting line-up yet they plodded along and if it was not for Hardik at the end they would have been way below par.”

Vaughan criticised India for not sending Rishabh Pant up the order and said it was time to get “honest” about the most followed team in world cricket.

“How they have not maximised someone like Rishabh Pant is incredible. In this era, put him up the top to launch it…

“I’m just staggered by how they play T20 cricket for the talent they have. They have the players, but just do not have the right process in place. They have to go for it…

“India have to be honest now. What happens when India arrive at a World Cup? Everyone plays them up. Nobody wants to criticise them because you get hammered on social media and pundits worry about losing work in India one day. But it is time to tell it straight. They can hide behind their great players but it is about getting a team playing the right way as a whole. Their bowling options are too few, they do not bat deep enough and lack spin tricks,” Vaughan wrote.

Michael Atherton, another former England captain, said that India’s top three play “very orthodox cricket” and wondered whether the team would choose a different approach ahead of the next T20 World Cup in 2024.

“India looked a bit shell-shocked in the field, there was a slightly comical all-run four, there was a dropped catch. England came at them hard, did not let them settle. There was a huge contrast with the intent with which England batted and the lack of intent from India at the top of the order. That was the key difference,” Atherton told Sky Sports.

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“When you look at the way Rohit and KL Rahul go about it, they do play very orthodox cricket. They’ve got a brilliant player in Virat Kohli at No 3 of exactly the same type, which is why a lot of the focus has fallen on Suryakumar, who plays a different type of game.

Eoin Morgan, the 2019 World Cup-winning England captain, said that India’s performance in England earlier this year had everyone praising how Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid had changed the way India played their cricket. But then they had just unravelled against England in the T20 World Cup semi-finals.

“If you’re India, it feels as if you have just turned up, got a score and you are probably relying on your bowlers or one person to have a day out. You have to question the planning from India. Have they underestimated what England can do and how good they are?” Morgan told Sky Sports.

“They toured England this summer and played this expansive cricket. We all sat back and said Rohit and Rahul Dravid have changed the mindset of Indian cricket. If they can access that, there aren’t many teams that can compete with them.”

Hussain suggested that the fear of failure amid massive expectations was holding India back. “Pressure and crowds and atmosphere are a good thing and all the TV channels and statistics but it can also weigh you down… you have to go out and play a knockout game exactly as if it is a bilateral game, as if you lose the first one you can still come back and win the next two and win the series. But you know if you get it wrong you know what that Indian media and fans and Twitterati are going to be like. They go from hero to zero very quickly. And that is weighing them down a little bit. They need to go out and say, ’don’t worry about tomorrow, we are good enough to win today,’” Hussain told Sky Sports.

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