Indian Cricket Team
Indian Cricket Team Image Credits: BCCI

Gautam Gambhir, the former Indian opener, expressed his disappointment over India crashing out of the T20 World Cup and urged the fans not to support the team.

India exited the ongoing 2021 T20I World Cup after New Zealand beat Afghanistan to book the second semi-final berth from Group 2 on Sunday.

Gautam Gambhir AFP
Gautam Gambhir AFP

Gautam Gambhir Never Felt Good Seeing India Waiting To Proceed To Semi-Finals Depending On Other Team Results

Virat Kohli’s team came into the tournament as hot favourites but let their future depend on other teams after big losses to rivals Pakistan, who were the first team to make the final four, and then the Kiwis.

In his column, Gautam Gambhir wrote, “This was never a good feeling. As a sportsperson, you’d want to be the master of your destiny rather than wait for a few permutations to go right to know how far you are progressing in a competition. Indian team would tell you what I mean.”

“Champions train to win, they work hard to score that one run more than the opposition and not wait for the result of the New Zealand vs Afghanistan match to know their fate. Crashing out in this manner or for that matter losing out on Net Run Rate like South Africa is a bitter pill to swallow,” Gautam Gambhir said.

India was knocked out of the T20 World Cup after New Zealand beat Afghanistan. (AP Photo)
India was knocked out of the T20 World Cup after New Zealand beat Afghanistan. (AP Photo)

India crashed out of the T20 World Cup after New Zealand registered an 8-wicket win over Afghanistan to join Pakistan, England, and Australia in the semi-final.

“Both these instances underline one common fact – relevance of respecting the small dots while designing a road map to victory. There is no place for ifs and buts in sport, but things could have been different if India had planned better for Shaheen Shah Afridi, or assessed the pitch better when they took on New Zealand in the second game,” Gautam Gambhir said.

“For South Africa, they may be ruing their lack of aggression while chasing a small target of 85 against Bangladesh. Is there a lesson there for the organisers? Should the format be a round-robin, where every team plays each other, rather than have two groups?” Gautam Gambhir questioned.

India crashed to a humiliating 10-wicket defeat against arch-rivals Pakistan in their first match of the tournament. It was followed by another crushing loss against New Zealand. Despite these two defeats, India was still in a three-team fight to finish second in Group 2.

With New Zealand and Afghanistan winning three and two matches respectively from their four matches, and with a better net run rate, the inaugural 2007 T20I World Cup champions needed a massive win against Scotland in Dubai, UAE. India did it in style by first dismissing Scotland for a lowly 85, then chasing it down in just 6.3 overs for their biggest T20I win (in terms of balls to spare).

India managed to leapfrog both New Zealand and Afghanistan in terms of the Net Run Rate (NRR) following their emphatic 8-wicket win against Scotland. However, despite the massive win, India’s semi-final chances were not in their hands. India still hoped for Afghanistan to beat the Kiwis and beat Namibia in their final group match on November 8. But fate had other plans in store for India.

Gautam Gambhir Would Urge Fans To Be Proud Of Indian Team

New Zealand earned the last semi-final slot with a comprehensive eight-wicket win against Afghanistan in their final Group II match on Sunday. Najibullah Zadran smashed a career-best 73 to rescue Afghanistan from a top-order collapse and propelled them to 124-8 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. New Zealand gunned down the target in 18.1 overs to become the second team from Group II, behind Pakistan, to make the semis.

“I’d also urge the fans to continue to be proud of the Indian team. We will be disrespectful and unfaithful as their supporters if we judged them on this solitary performance in the ongoing World Cup. Yes, we lost to Pakistan. Yes, we were beaten on strategy by New Zealand. Yes, our friends from across the border are in the semis and we are not,” Gautam Gambhir said.

“But hold on. This Indian team won us a series in Australia early this year. Next they turned it around when England visited India to beat them in all three formats. We currently lead them 2-1 in the away Test series with the last game to be played next year,” Gautam Gambhir asserted.

T20 World Cup 2021: Najibullah Zadran scored 73 runs. This is the best innings of T20 career. (AP)
T20 World Cup 2021: Najibullah Zadran scored 73 runs. This is the best innings of T20 career. (AP)

India thrashed Afghanistan and Scotland, but it was all too late, and now they find themselves out of the tournament even before their final game against Namibia on Monday.

“Before we take them to the cleaners, please pause and think that all these games were played in a bio-secure bubble. I know a few individuals who were petrified answering their doorbell when Covid-19 was at its peak, leave alone stepping out to work.

“But players were training at home, taking flights, quarantining in a hotel room, living a bubbled life to play and entertain you and me. Yes, they are paid handsomely and it’s a professional world out there. How about just saying, “well-tried, boys”, Gautam Gambhir signed off.

The outcome eliminated India, who will finish their group campaign against Namibia on Monday.