Ian Smith.
Ian Smith. Image Credit: X

The former New Zealand player Ian Smith feels that the Indian cricket team’s struggle to win a major trophy in an ICC tournament in the last decade has been because of the ‘fear of failure’ factor. The Blue Brigade won their last ICC trophy in 2013 when they defeated England in the Champions Trophy final.

In the very next year, they reached the T20 World Cup 2014 final against Sri Lanka, but lost that title, before getting knocked out to Australia in the 2015 ODI World Cup semi-final. In the very next year in 2016, at home, the Dhoni-led side lost the semifinal to West Indies in Mumbai.

They again reached the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy, under a new captain Virat Kohli, but couldn’t taste success against Pakistan. In 2019, the whole nation had a heart-break when they lost the semifinal to New Zealand in Manchester, while in the 2021 T20 World Cup, India were knocked out from the group stage of the competition.

The captaincy was handed over to Rohit Sharma, but again they fell short in the semis against England in Adelaide in 2022, while again the whole country faced disappointment with the final loss in the ODI World Cup 2023, in Ahmedabad.

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‘Every day you get out of bed, you have to win’- Ian Smith

The former New Zealand wicket-keeper batter Ian Smith points out that the expectation on the 11-players from the whole country and their fans is massive. It even though sometimes works in their favor by getting massive support, most of the time, it sits at the wrong end.

In between all these white-ball ICC tournaments from 2014 to 2024, India also couldn’t get success during the two finals of the World Test Championship (WTC) against New Zealand and Australia, under Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, respectively.

The talent and skill in this part of the world especially in cricket is untouchable, and every successful season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is a huge example of that, but still, there is no success in pen and paper.

Ian Smith empathized with the team, addressing that the players could never walk freely, as they get cooked under the immense pressure they face every single day.

The veteran comments on the unique burden of the Indian team that they carry in every single tournament, unlike the other teams, and that’s where the significant factor in sports- ‘fear of failure’ comes into the equation.

‘Fear of failure is a massive thing in sport. Pressure is a big thing. Being able to handle the big occasion.’ The famous commentator Ian Smith remarked as saying by the PTI. ‘I mean, I don’t think any team in the world, or cricket in particular, plays with as much pressure on their shoulders as the Indian cricket team.’

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The 67-year-old also focuses on that constant desire to do well and win trophies one after another, which is a huge challenge in International cricket. At every step of the players, everything they do on or off the field, they get judged on the action. There are expectations and scrutiny which make it tougher mentally in the battle.

‘The expectation, desire from the population for the team to win almost every game.’ Ian Smith elaborated. ‘Every day you get out of the bed, you have to win. It’s a tough thing to have to bear.’

India have done well so far in the ongoing Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, with an unbeaten run in five games, including one washed-out result against Canada. But can they reach the last huddle, or most importantly, can they cross the finishing line?