T20 WC: India struggling to win ICC titles, says Misbah

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 17, 2024 IST

Team India

New Delhi, May 17: It's almost 17 years, when former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, perhaps played the most horrible shot of his life. 

It was not about getting out in a tensed ICC World Cup final, but allowing arch rivals India to walk away with the maiden T20 World Cup trophy. 

When Shanthakumaran Nair Sreesanth (S Sreesanth) caught the most important catch of his life at deep fine leg, sending Misbah back to pavilion, not only Team India led by young MS Dhoni jumped in joy, but entire nation celebrated another World Cup final win after 24 long years. 

Because after 1983 ODI World Cup title, India could never win another World Cup till that historic moment in 2007.

Pakistani batting mainstay Misbah, was trying to hit Joginder Shama out of the boundary, when Sreesanth grabbed a high catch to shatter Pakistan's dream of a winning a World Cup final against India. Not only Misbah but almost entire Pakistan had a severe heartbreak.

Now, after 17 long years of that incident, which tilted in India's favour, Misbah-ul-Haq says India is struggling to finish ICC tournaments with titles. Misbah's comments may hurt many, but that is not untrue, either.  

India's struggle in the mega tournaments has not been hidden from the world and ahead of the blockbuster T20 World Cup 2024 in the West Indies and USA.

Misbah-ul-Haq opined that Indian team is lacking behind in finishing strong in the last few years at the ICC events while hailing the current team as "skilful" with "powerful bowling line-up".

In last year's ODI World Cup, India remained unbeaten in the tournament until bowing down against Australia in the summit clash at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

India have not won any ICC title since the 2013 Champions Trophy under MS Dhoni. They missed out on World Test Championship triumphs on two occasions in the span of three years. In the last edition of the T20 World Cup, Men in Blue faced a defeat at the hands of England in the semi-final to end their campaign.

Former Pakistan batter credited India's current pace attack led by Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami while also praising the quality of Indian cricket.

"It's a different Indian team now, a skilful team with a very powerful bowling line-up. The batting has always been strong, but the quality of their fast bowling has really elevated their game. With bowlers like Bumrah, Shami, Siraj, and the all-round abilities of Hardik Pandya, the quality of Indian cricket has increased significantly. Their ability to handle pressure has improved too," Misbah said during Star Sports Press Room show.

"Playing so much cricket gives them exposure and boosts their confidence. To break this, opposing teams need to make a lot of effort, which is a difficult task. Look at Australia, for instance. They overcome most of these hurdles with their strong mental attitude. As big matches and pressure situations arise, they manage to stay composed," he added.

The 2009 T20 World Cup champion highlighted that India lacked behind in finishing the tournament on high despite starting the event well. "In contrast, teams like Pakistan, India, and other Asian teams face immense pressure from their huge populations and high expectations. This pressure can affect performance significantly. It's something India has struggled with in the last few mega events, where they haven't been able to finish strong," Misbah said.

The veteran player further added that India need to find solutions to cope with pressure in ICC knockout matches. "For Australia, this isn't as big of an issue, but for Pakistan and India, playing under such intense pressure is a major challenge. It's interesting to see how these teams will manage it in the future. India, especially, will need to find ways to overcome this mounting pressure if they want to succeed in upcoming events," he added.

Sharing his thoughts on comeback pacer Mohammad Amir's inclusion in Pakistan T20 World Cup squad, Misbah said, "I will talk about the Champions Trophy held at 2017. Mohammad Amir we witnessed previously and the one we will see now in the ICC T20 World Cup, we will definitely see a difference that time. Previously he had more pace, swing, zip and it will be less in comparison to his present scenario. But now the advantage will be the experience he possess.

"I think that he can do it better at this time. One can take advantage towards the end of the innings, however at the beginning that effect may not be there what we witnessed in 2017 Champions Trophy. But what we have seen from Amir's experience such as slower ones, outside the office stump and bowling yorkers. The most important thing is pressure handling in a big matches against India, when you had performed well and previously you won matches on crucial stages and bowled to big batsmen’s that will be more important for Amir in India verses Pakistan and other matches as well," he concluded.

India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their second encounter of the T20 World Cup in New York on June 9 after playing Ireland in the opening game on June 5.

Prior to the Indo-Pak ICC Men's T20 World Cup match, Misbah's comments may not be very pleasing to majority of Indian cricket fans or experts, but Team India need to prove him wrong with a strong performance. 

If Rohit Sharma & Co can beat Pakistan on June 9 and then carry on to win the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024, may be Misbah's banter would be replied appropriately.(With IANS support) 

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