Team India’s defeat in the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup 2019 against New Zealand had shattered the hopes of countless Indian fans. It was a heart-breaking defeat and badly hurt the fans as the team came so close to winning.
The country’s fans had still not recovered from the pain of the loss when a bombshell of a news has further ruptured their wounds. A report has surfaced recently, claiming that there is a major rift happening inside the Indian team that is apparently divided into two factions – the Virat Kohli camp and Rohit Sharma camp.
The report in this Hindi daily claimed that only those players who are close to Virat are secured a place in the eleven and the others are dispensable. KL Rahul is said to be from the Kohli camp. In fact, the report quoted an unnamed member of the Indian squad who stated that here is a strong bias in favor of Rahul. Ambati Rayudu, who retired recently after not being picked in the World Cup squad, is said to have not been in the good books of captain Kohli.
It was also written in the report that many players in the squad aren’t comfortable with the Virat Kohli – Ravi Shatsri combination. They were also unhappy with Vijay Shankar’s selection in the squad and his elevation to the No.4 spot but couldn’t dare to say anything as they were scared of being removed.
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The veracity of the news report is yet to be established. It might be very likely that the claims made by the newspaper might be untrue. Similar reports have surfaced countless times in the past when India has bowed out of big tournaments. This might well be another TRP-driven drive by the particular media house to cash in on the World Cup loss and ensure more publicity for themselves.
However, if there is even an iota of truth in this report then the BCCI must take it very seriously. In the 90s, there would be constant reports of infighting and factions in the Indian team and the performance suffered for a long time.
The current Indian team cannot afford something similar. This team has potential and has the ability to be the best in the world. Yes, some rather bizarre and befuddling decisions have been taken by the team management throughout the course of the World Cup 2019 and before it. The captain and the coach must be held accountable for the performance in the semi-final and some of the decisions taken.
However, the unity of the team must not be disturbed. Hence, the BCCI must sit with the players, review the performance and ensure an environment of trust and belief. If there are any differences or confusions within the squad members then they must be sorted out. The team simply cannot afford any negativity and squander the promise it has.
Team India has a month-long lay-off now before their tour to the West Indies begins. It will be followed by a big home series against South Africa. And then there is the ICC T20 World Cup in 2020 to prepare for as well. Hence the team has a lot to look forward to in the coming months. A clear air of positivity and trust is required and negative reports about infighting must be avoided and dealt with.