Michael Vaughan has gone ballistic against Team India and how!
The former England captain’s critique of the Indian cricket team as the ‘most underachieving sports team in the world’ has probably ruffled feathers among Indian cricket fans but Vaughan’s take is not way off the mark.
India is a cricketing superpower with the pedigree of being two-time World Champions and with all its might financially and being the place where the game’s heartbeat resides.
With India contributing almost 80 percent to the cricket economy in terms of sponsors, it’s a given that the country enjoys enormous clout and power in the game.
However, when it comes to the spoils and silverware and especially the ICC World Cups – ODI and T20I – the Asian giants have been a dud for over ten years now.
India’s last major ICC title was eons back in 2013 when Mahendra Singh Dhoni led them to victory in the Champions Trophy.
Post that India have reached the ODI World Cup semifinals twice in 2015 and 2019 and the final once in 2023 but failed to clinch the all-important title.
As far as the T20 World Cups are concerned, India have faced the same fate ever since winning the inaugural edition in 2007.
Apart from the 2014 edition where they were in rollicking form and lost in the final to Sri Lanka, the team struggled in the other editions to crash out early.
There may be other teams like South Africa that could possibly compete with India for the ‘most underachieving sports team tag.
More accurately, South Africa have been great underachievers given the fact that they have never won a World Cup since their appearance in the 1992 edition after the post-Apartheid era.
With their bevy of fast bowlers, swashbuckling batsmen and terrific fielders over the years, South Africa were always seen as a team deserving a World Cup victory but always coming up short.
What then makes India different from South Africa is perhaps the fact that India are India.
The biggest cricketing nation in the world with its largest economy, the best cricket league on the planet and the most passionate fans.
And now at the 2023 ODI World Cup, India were the best team without a blink winning ten matches in a row all the way upto the final.
Then, the same old.
Until, the Indian cricket team wins its next major ICC silverware, the likes of Vaughan will feel validated about what they are saying and there is nothing one can do to stop it.
The T20 World Cup in June this year provides another opportunity to break the jinx.