As one of India’s most well-loved national sports, cricket is everywhere in this country – and this year in particular seems to have held lots of excitement for the side. From the Cricket World Cup to the Asia Cup, there’s been plenty for the team to keep their attention focused on. With the season now drawn to an end, it’s a good time to look back on what the 2018/19 period has held for the national team – and what Virat Kohli’s team will be thinking about as they approach another season.
Cricket World Cup
The main event on the international cricket calendar this year was, of course, the Cricket World Cup, which took place in Britain across June and July. Before the tournament began, India were being touted as
strong performers who were likely to do well – or, even, be potential winners. They had taken the title twice before, once in 1983 and once in 2011. In practice, they made it all the way to the semi-finals, at which point they were knocked out by New Zealand. Despite not winning the World Cup, however, they were still widely considered to have shown a good team spirit – and a phenomenal win over Pakistan early in the tournament was widely considered a sharp performance.
The Cricket World Cup dominated the 2019 half of this period for the Indian national team, but in the second half of 2018, there were also some strong performances for the side, including a game against Pakistan in the Asia Cup back in September. India took the second group-stage match by nine wickets at the game in Dubai – which, given the historic rivalry between the two cricketing nations and the importance prescribed to matches between the two, was considered a positive development.
Leadership question marks
Aside from performances in matches, the team has also had to face questions over its leadership – especially as preparation for the next cricket matches in India gets underway. In recent weeks, Kohli has found himself under scrutiny over his captaincy, and he has been accused by former player Sunil Gavaskar of failing to lead the team effectively when they were defeated by New Zealand. According to rumours, even current teammates have begun to challenge Kohli – though this is something that he publicly denies. While it does not appear that this has caused any serious ructions in the team as yet, it’s a somewhat negative end to what really ought to have been a stellar year.
For an international cricket team of India’s calibre, it’s really no surprise that there are ups and downs across the course of a busy year. With the Cricket World Cup to deal with as well as other tournaments and internal team politics, then, it’s clearly about time for the team to grab some relaxation time over the course of the summer.