Sunil Gavaskar stated that India looked demoralized against New Zealand, which came after their 10-wicket defeat to Pakistan in their T20 World Cup 2021 opener. The former India captain also believed that the criticism from the outside world can sometimes work in a positive way for the team.
India had a very disappointing start to the T20 World Cup 2021. They were convincingly beaten by Pakistan by 10 wickets in their tournament opener, before going down to New Zealand by eight wickets. After being put in to bat by Kane Williamson on Sunday, India managed to put a total of 110/7, which was chased down successfully with 5.3 overs to spare.
Reflecting on the result, former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar stated that defeat against Pakistan in their tournament opener dented the team's self-confidence. He further added that New Zealand didn’t allow their opponents to play their natural game.
"Having lost to Pakistan had certainly demoralised the Indian team. For the last 12 World Cup events, India hadn't lost but suddenly they lost and they lost very badly. And I think certainly dented their self-confidence. What they needed against New Zealand was to get off to a great start. But in the first six overs, they lost two wickets,” Gavaskar told India Today.
"You have got to congratulate New Zealand for the way they played. They didn't allow India the freedom to play their natural game. Yes, you might argue that Rohit Sharma should have opened the batting but look at the way New Zealand bowled."
Bowling first, New Zealand put pressure from the start as they restricted India to 35/2 in the powerplay. Ishan Kishan, who was promoted to open ahead of Rohit Sharma fell for four. KL Rahul (18), Rohit (14) and skipper Virat Kohli (9) too, couldn't contribute much, as India slumped to 48/4 in the 11th over. Gavaskar pointed out that New Zealand won both batting and bowling powerplay, which gave them an upper hand.
"I have been stressing that teams winning the powerplays go on to win the match. And that's exactly what happened. New Zealand won both their bowling and batting powerplay," said Gavaskar.
There has been heavy criticism after India’s successive defeats, more so with regard to the selections and the batting order. Skipper Kohli has often asserted that outside criticism doesn’t bother the team much. Gavaskar however believes that sometimes it can work for the team in a positive way and help them constructively.
"This outside world is not sound-proof," said Gavaskar. "Somebody or the other is going to be saying something or the other, which you are going to hear. So to say that you are chucking out the outside noise is easy because what t tell is we don't care about the outside world, which is fair enough. It's understandable because the team doesn't want to be influenced by what has happened.
"But sometimes an outside perspective does help. An outside perspective which you can consider. Maybe, there is some sense in what the outside perspective is, and maybe at that particular point of time, you get into a cocoon."
India will play their next match against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, on November 3.