With New Zealand's win over Afghanistan, India was knocked out of the T20 World Cup. The wait continues for Virat Kohli and his men to get their hands on an ICC trophy under his leadership.
Questions will be asked about team India's approach and team selection at the World Cup. Here we take a look at some of the reasons for their early exit from the tournament.
Scheduling and Fatigue
Scheduling has long been a primary talking point in Cricket, especially when it concerns India. Virat Kohli jokingly once said that India is getting closer and closer to landing at the stadium and playing straight away. This was his response when asked about India's packed schedule when they only had a five-day break between a home series against Australia and an away T20 series against New Zealand.
In this year, India had played two gruelling away series against England and Australia and also had to play two legs of the IPL. That is a lot of days in strict bio-bubble environments and it takes its toll on even the fittest of players.
The second leg of the IPL was squeezed in between the England series and the World Cup. That meant the T20 World Cup had to start the day after the IPL final. There were only 9 days between the Pakistan game and the IPL final. It surely wasn't an ideal gap for a World Cup campaign.
Team selection and balance
Team India's selection policy in this tournament has raised quite a few eyebrows. It started with the omission of Yuzvendra Chahal from the 15-man squad even though he was the highest wicket-taker for India in T20's and performed well for RCB in the second leg of the IPL.
Hardik Pandya not being fit enough to bowl upset the balance of the side. He bowled just 4 overs throughout the tournament. So, Kohli had to work with only 5 bowling options throughout the tournament.
An injury-plagued and out-of-form Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was picked in the first game ahead of Ashwin and Shardul Thakur. The knee-jerk reaction to the loss against Pakistan also hurt India. Surya Kumar Yadav was dropped after one game and they demoted Rohit Sharma to No.3 to accommodate Ishan Kishan.
Out of form batsmen and lack of role clarity
In India's top six from their first two games, only KL Rahul had been in decent form coming into the World Cup. Skipper Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma scored just 212 and 131 runs from the 8 and 6 games they had played in the second leg of the IPL. Surya Kumar Yadav only made one fifty and Ishan Kishan was even dropped at one stage midway through the tournament.
There was also a lack of clarity about their roles in the side. Virat Kohli opened the batting in the T20 series against England. But due to the form of KL Rahul, Kohli had to return to the No.3 spot. Even Rohit didn't open the batting in the New Zealand game.
Losing the toss in crucial games
Kohli's bad luck with the toss continued as he lost the toss against Pakistan and New Zealand. With dew playing a huge role in the tournament, teams have generally opted to bowl first.
The issue was prominent in Dubai where India played both games. The bowlers were forced to bowl with the wet ball and expectedly struggled.