India have had a disastrous outing in the T20 World Cup 2021 and only a miracle can ensure that they reach the semi-finals of the event now. After some excellent performances in the warm-up games, where they thrashed England and Australia without breaking a sweat, India crumbled when it mattered the most. They went down to Pakistan by 10 wickets in their first Super 12 match in Dubai, fumbling in both the batting and bowling department. Nothing changed after a week’s break as they looked as lethargic and went down to New Zealand by eight wickets. They are now at the brink of exit in the most important T20 tournament.
Ironically, India have struggled in the T20 World Cup rather miserably although it is often said that they posses the best T20 league in the world – the Indian Premier League (IPL). The best players from across the globe take part in the IPL, which is organized year after year with a lot of glitz and glamour. This year as well, the BCCI announced the name of two new IPL franchises, which will feature in the league from the 2022 season, in the midst of the ongoing T20 World Cup. The most shocking aspect of Indian cricket and the IPL is that India have never won the T20 World Cup since the introduction of the T20 league. In fact, it was India’s victory in the T20 World Cup in 2007 that actually gave birth to the IPL.
IPL fatigue reason for India’s poor show
In the wake of India’s forgettable performance in the T20 World Cup, question marks are being raised about whether the players are suffering from IPL and bio-bubble fatigue. Remember, India have been playing non-stop cricket heading into the T20 World Cup. The IPL 2021 final ended only a couple of days before the ICC event began. Before that, a number of players were also part of the Test series in England. They have just been moving from one bio-bubble to another bio-bubble.
While this holds true for all international teams, it is all the more dangerous in the case of India, who play a lot more due to their commercial engagements and being the most popular cricket team in the world. Jasprit Bumrah candidly admitted after India’s loss to New Zealand that bio-bubble fatigue was definitely one of the factors affecting the team. And it was clearly evident out in the middle. The players, who have featured in two IPLs in under a year owing to COVID-19 issues, have looked jaded and lost. And, this is not a one-off. In fact, there have been numerous instances when India have struggled to perform after heading into an international tournament straight after the IPL. This scheduling is something that needs to be looked into.
IPL has not made India the best T20 team
It would be unfair to say that the IPL has not benefited Indian cricket. It definitely has. Players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya came to Indian cricket via the IPL route. In recent times, the likes of Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav have also made the transition to international cricket from Mumbai Indians – the most successful IPL franchise. However, the stark reality is that IPL has not made India the best T20 team in international cricket. This is clearly evident from the fact that India have not won the T20 World Cup despite possessing the “best T20 league in the world”.
If anything, the other countries seemed to have benefited more. They walk away with handsome paychecks and gain valuable experience about Indian players, which they then use to their benefit in international cricket. Take the case of Kyle Jamieson vs Virat Kohli or Trent Boult against the India captain and Rohit Sharma. If indeed the IPL has made Indian cricket stronger, the big question is – why are the results not coming?