Although India head coach Rahul Dravid admitted that India side were comprehensively outplayed by a Jos Buttler-inspired England in the second semifinal of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at Adelaide, he decided against being too critical about his side’s 10-wicket loss to England.
Buttler, with 80, and Alex Hales, who scored 86, were still there unbeaten at the end as England romped past their 169 target with 10 wickets and four overs to spare to race into a final against Pakistan in Melbourne on Sunday.
As a result of another knockout game defeat and the colossal margin of defeat, Dravid was met with some tough questions about India’s vision, their approach, the future and more during the post-match press conference.
Here are excerpts from the media interaction:
On the disappointment of defeat:
Obviously disappointed to finish in the semifinals. Probably would have certainly liked to go a couple of steps further. But yeah, just outplayed, outclassed today. They were the better team in all departments really. The scoreline showed that.
On the takeaways from the loss:
It’s tough after a loss like that. It’s tough to – but we’ll reflect on it. It’s tough to reflect on things so close to the result, but yeah, I think overall we ran a pretty good campaign.
Over the last year, we’ve played some good T20 cricket. Even in this tournament, I think we’ve had our moments. There’s been some real individual quality from a lot of our players, shown some real good skills. But on the day we were just not good enough here.
I’m sure there are things we can look back on and reflect on and see that we’ve improved in and we can take forward and move forward as we build for the next World Cup.
On India’s adaptability and how the games that played out at Adelaide and whether that played a part in planning:
Yeah, honestly we looked at those things. We looked at that, as well. Also runs on the board was something in a semifinal. We had been batting well. We were one of those teams that were, even in these conditions, scoring 180, 180 plus. I think we had done it two or three times in this tournament. So we were playing well.
It’s just, I think, maybe when the game started, the boys were saying it was a little bit tacky, it was a little bit slower. Having said that, they bowled really well. I thought they were really good up front. They hit really good lengths, didn’t really let us get away. We felt at that 15-over mark we felt we were probably 15-20 short, and we really had a good last five overs.
I think Hardik out there was absolutely brilliant, and that’s exactly – in the end it looked like we were a lot shorter than even 15, 20, but I think we should have been able to get to 180-185 on that wicket. Maybe things might have been different with an early wicket after that.
On the future of senior players such as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravichandran Ashwin:
Well, it’s too early to talk about it right now just after a semifinal game. These guys have been terrific performers for us. Yeah, like you said, we have a couple of years to reflect on it. There’s some really good quality players here, so absolutely not the right time to talk about this stuff or think about this stuff right now. We’ll have enough games, enough matches as we go on ahead, and India will try and build and prepare for the next World Cup.
On whether India are lagging behind due to not playing in overseas T20 leagues:
I mean there’s no doubt about it, that the fact that England – a lot of their players have come here and played in this tournament [BBL], it certainly showed. It’s tough. I think it’s very difficult for Indian cricket because a lot of these tournaments happen right in the peak of our season.
I think it’s a huge challenge for us. Yes, I think a lot of our boys maybe do miss out on the opportunities of playing in a lot of these leagues, but it’s really up to the BCCI to make that decision, but the thing is it’s right in the middle of our season, and with the kind of demand there would be for Indian players, if you allowed all the Indian players to play in these leagues, we would not have a domestic cricket (system). Our domestic trophy, our Ranji trophy would be finished, and that would mean Test cricket would be finished.
I know a lot of people talk about it, but we have to be very careful, we have to understand the challenges that Indian cricket faces or the BCCI would face in a situation like this. You’d see a lot of boys being asked to play leagues bang in the middle of our season.
We’ve seen what that’s done to West Indies cricket, and I would definitely not want Indian cricket to go that way. It would certainly affect our Ranji trophy; it would affect Test cricket. Indian boys playing Test cricket is pretty important for the Test game, as well, I would think.
On Jos Buttler, his growth due to IPL and his performance in the semifinal:
Yeah, he’s a very dangerous player and we knew that. We knew the key to the game obviously was to try and take that opening partnership as early as we could. We tried to attack a little bit with our lengths up front. We thought that was a tactic. They played that really well.
The ball didn’t swing here probably as much as it has in other parts of Australia or in other conditions. Played a little bit into their hands and class players like that - both Buttler and Hales - I thought their partnership was fantastic today. I think they just put the pressure on us, never let that go, and even when our spinners came on on a wicket that we thought we might be able to control the game, they really counterattacked our spinners as well and put our spinners under a lot of pressure.
Really well played, a class player. Someone like Buttler – you don’t need me to say that, but he’s probably one of the most dangerous T20 players going around.
On India’s inability to effect a single dismissal:
Well, I think they (England) played well. That’s the reality of it. I thought they played really well. Once they got off to that kind of start, I think they could really sit back and control the run rate. We had 168. They brought that run rate down to six and a half I think by the time the sixth over was finished, or seven runs an over, and then on a small ground like that, they were always in control, so they were going to control that game.
They didn’t really need to take too many risks. They could sit back and – not that they didn’t take them; they played some really good shots right through. But yeah, these things happen. Yeah, it’s disappointing. Debacle I’m not sure is the right word, but disappointing certainly.
On India’s defeats being a case of bad starts with bad or ball:
Sure, in a 20-over match, you definitely need good starts. If you lose the first six overs in both the innings, then it becomes really tough. If we see in this match there, were maybe five phases. Three in our batting and really just two in their batting. And in those, we lost four phases. I’d say only in the last five overs of our batting we played good cricket. We put the pressure back on them. If you lose four phases in a match, you are definitely outplayed in this format.
Transcript courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone. Slightly edited for length.