In the aftermath of a disheartening defeat suffered by the Men In Blue, former India cricketer Venkatesh Prasad has launched a scathing attack on both captain Hardik Pandya and head coach Rahul Dravid. The duo is under fire for their lackluster white-ball tactics and questionable strategic decisions throughout the series. The unfortunate turn of events unfolded at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground in Lauderhill, Florida, where Team India faced a surprising setback at the hands of West Indies.
Amidst the burgeoning anticipation of a remarkable comeback, following the T20I series triumph over the West Indies, those hopes were mercilessly shattered as the opposition secured an eight-wicket victory – marking their inaugural bilateral win against the Indian cricket team.
Venkatesh Prasad minced no words as he singled out both Pandya and Dravid for their lack of brilliance in white-ball cricket and their misjudged tactical choices during the series. The ex-cricketer's frustration was palpable as he accentuated the "ordinary" display exhibited by the team during the ODI series. This sentiment echoed a previous assertion he made when India stumbled against Bangladesh in the 50-over format the previous year – characterizing the team as a "very ordinary limited-overs side." This sense of déjà vu haunted India as they trailed behind West Indies.
The fifth and final T20I match of the series saw Suryakumar Yadav stepping up to open the batting. His valiant 61 off 45 deliveries stood as a solitary effort against the West Indies' might. Nevertheless, India could only muster a total of 165 for nine. Brandon King and Nicholas Pooran orchestrated an impressive 107-run partnership, later joined by Shai Hope, who sealed the victory for West Indies with two overs to spare – effectively reaching a 166-run chase.
In a series of strikingly candid tweets, Prasad bemoaned India's subpar performance and exhorted introspection over mere rhetoric. He stated, "India has been a very very ordinary limited overs side for sometime now. They have been humbled by a West Indies side that failed to qualify for the T20 WC few months back. We had also lost to Ban in the ODI series."
India has been a very very ordinary limited overs side for sometime now. They have been humbled by a West Indies side that failed to qualify for the T20 WC few months back. We had also lost to Ban in the ODI series. Hope they introspect instead of making silly statements #IndvWI— Venkatesh Prasad (@venkateshprasad) August 13, 2023
With frustration apparent in his words, Prasad stressed, "Not just 50 overs, West Indies had failed to qualify for the T20 World cup last Oct-Nov as well. It pains to see India perform poorly and brush it under the carpet, under the garb of process. That hunger, fire is missing and we live in an illusion."
Not just 50 overs, West Indies had failed to qualify for the T20 World cup last Oct- Nov as well.— Venkatesh Prasad (@venkateshprasad) August 13, 2023
It pains to see India perform poorly and brush it under the carpet, under the garb of process. That hunger, fire is missing and we live in an illusion. https://t.co/8GDNDfW9dg
When confronted about the roles of Pandya and Dravid, Prasad held them directly responsible for the team's debacle and urged them to shoulder accountability. He criticized the misuse of buzzwords like "process" and underscored the absence of consistent selection and the prevalence of arbitrary decisions. Prasad emphasized India's dire need to enhance their skillset, lamenting the scarcity of both hunger and intensity. He didn't shy away from addressing the captain's seeming cluelessness on the field, stressing the concerning lack of versatility in the team members' capabilities.
This isn't the first instance of Prasad's vocal discontentment with the Indian cricket team's performance. Prior to this, he had raised questions following India's defeat against a struggling West Indies side. He stated, "Test cricket aside, India has been very ordinary in the other two formats for quite sometime now. Lost odi series against ban, SA and Aus. Poor in the last two T20 World Cups. Neither are we an exciting team like England nor brutal like how the Aussies used to be."
As the Indian cricket team continues to grapple with repeated setbacks, Prasad's candid observations throw a stark spotlight on the team's readiness for the impending World Cup – leaving the dream of bringing home the coveted trophy hanging in the balance.