Indian head coach Rahul Dravid admitted they didn’t play any fearful cricket in the World Cup final 2023 against Australia after suffering a six-wicket loss at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on Sunday. After being put into bat by Pat Cummins, India was skittled out for 240 as they could not get going on a slow pitch.
Dravid feels they were 30-40 runs short of a par score and it could have been a different story had they posted 280-290 runs on the board. The chief coach was proud of all the players for their prolific performance throughout the tournament but felt they could not bring their best with the bat.
India could only hit two boundaries in the middle overs and scored only 117 runs from 11-40 overs. KL Rahul failed to change gears and it turned out to be a big turning point.
“I won’t agree that we played with fear. We had 80 runs in ten overs. We had lost wickets, and when you lose wickets you have to change your strategy,” Dravid said at the post-match press conference.
“We haven’t played any fearful cricket in this final. In the middle overs, they bowled really well and we had lost three wickets. So a period of consolidation was needed, and every time we thought we could get on the attack, we would lose a wicket,” he said. “If you lose wickets, you have to rebuild. We didn’t set out to play defensively.”
Dravid feels the pitch was difficult to bat on in the first innings as the ball was stopping. The former Indian skipper feels they were one partnership away from getting to a par score.
“Just felt like the ball was stopping in the afternoon a little bit more than it did in the evening,” he said. “It felt like the ball came on to the bat a lot better in the evening. There was that period where the ball was stopping and we weren’t able to get boundaries. We were able to rotate the strike but we weren’t able to get those boundaries.
“If we had got to 280-290 and they were 60 for 3 then it might have been a very different game. But 240, I think they were always one partnership away from getting there.”
After dominating the World Cup, India could not cross the final hurdle and as expected there were a lot of emotions in the dressing room, revealed Dravid.
“There was a lot of emotions in that dressing room. It was tough to see as a coach, because I know how hard these guys have worked, what they’ve put in, the sacrifices they’ve made. But that’s sport. It can happen”
India will take on Australia in the first T20I at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam on Thursday.