Let India’s T20 triumph not skew the balance further against ODIs, Tests

Rohit Sharma & Co kept their date with a long overdue title since the birth of IPL

Narendra Modi interacts with Team India in New Delhi on 4 July (photo: PTI)
Narendra Modi interacts with Team India in New Delhi on 4 July (photo: PTI)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

It’s been a manic Thursday for the T20 World Cup-winning Team India – though they would not possibly mind it. After all, 13 years had passed since they had last won an ICC World Cup and from the Class of 2007 who were a part of the open bus parade in Mumbai after their triumph in the inaugural World T20, captain Rohit Sharma has been the only survivor in the current lot.

While the magical moment actually came last Saturday in the distant West Indies, one had to wait for the Men in Blue to land physically in India and be a part of the celebrations for closure to what had been a fascinating month for them. The ordeal of being rushed to the Prime Minister’s residence for a meet-and-greet soon after landing after a 16-hour non stop flight, then again being hauled to Mumbai for the gala celebrations would have been surely taxing though for the tired men and their families.

Looking beyond the euphoria, what are the takeaways from India’s second-ever T20 World Cup triumph? If the success of Kapil’s Devils in 1983 had been a watershed moment in taking the sport to the drawing rooms in the country, the 2007 triumph of M.S. Dhoni’s team had been a catalyst for the birth of IPL and the T20 revolution which changed the landscape of the sport. The shortest format has since then proved to be the moneyspinner for the sport with a World Cup every two years, IPL clones springing up in most full member countries while of late, state cricket bodies in India are also coming up with their own avatar of a T20 league.

The fact that it took India eight editions after the first one to add a second World T20 crown, and their first ever since the IPL got underway in 2008, was often referred to by their critics. Some found it akin to England failing to win a major title in football since the 1966 World Cup despite their Premier League being a Who’s Who of talents from all over the world.

However, the impact of crowd-pullers India ending the title drought in this format is expected to witness an overdrive of milking it in the coming years in terms of international fixtures as well as franchise cricket – and this could further skew the balance against the ODIs, which is fast losing ground, and Tests.

Look at the time lapse between India’s first and second T20 crown, 17 years, and this effectively means the teenage generation is seeing them winning it for the first time. Needless to say, this is the format they will get hooked to and it’s going to be bad news for the classical formats. Now that the trio of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja have taken the call of retiring from the T20Is, they can look to prolong their careers in the two older formats – helping India focus on other remote peaks.

In less than a year, the ICC Champions Trophy (scheduled in Pakistan as of now) will give India a chance for redemption for the 50-overs World Cup disappointment of 2023 as well the humiliation of the 2017 final to Pakistan – the last time Champions Trophy was actually played. India have also lost both the World Test Championship (WTC) finals so far to New Zealand and Australia, respectively. The focus, after the party is over and the new coaching personnel settles down, should be on them rather than simply considering the T20 World Cup as salvation.

For now, the party and the financial windfall will continue for some more time!

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