India must ‘move on’ after ICC Cricket World Cup final loss

India coach Dravid says players must reflect on their tournament campaign despite the disappointment of failing to win a home World Cup.

Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid
India coach Rahul Dravid says his team will learn from the ICC Cricket World Cup final loss against Australia [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

India coach Rahul Dravid has urged his heartbroken team to move on from the “tough” loss in the ICC Cricket World Cup final against Australia.

Dravid, a former India batter, said the team was distraught after failing to win a home World Cup despite their unbeaten run in the group stages of the tournament.

Australia shocked the hosts, as well as a crowd of more than 100,000 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, by handing India a six-wicket defeat in Sunday’s final.

“There were a lot of emotions in that dressing room,” Dravid told reporters after the match.

“It’s tough to see because you get to know these boys personally. I know how hard these guys have worked, the effort they put in and the sacrifices they have made [to reach the final].”

Dravid said his team was confident of getting over the line, but Australia simply played better on the day.

“There is disappointment in the dressing room but when the dust settles we can reflect on what has been a really good campaign,” the pensive former India captain said.

Despite the disappointment felt by the team and support staff, he reflected on how the loss showed the highs and lows of the sport.

“If you don’t put yourself on the line in games like these then you don’t learn.

“You have great highs and some great lows [in sport] but you keep moving on. You don’t stop.”

India weren’t ‘intimidated’ by the occasion

Sunday’s loss is the latest in a string of defeats that Australia have inflicted on the cricket-mad country of some 1.4 billion people.

India also lost the 2015 World Cup semifinal to then hosts and eventual champions Australia in Sydney, while current captain Pat Cummins led his side to a win the World Test Championship over the same opponents at London’s Oval cricket ground in May.

Dravid, 56, suffered World Cup final heartbreak himself as a member of the team that lost the 2003 World Cup final to Ricky Ponting’s team in South Africa.

The former middle-order batter, nicknamed “The Wall” for his defensive prowess, said he had no clue why India keep falling at the final hurdle against the Australians.

“We haven’t played well on the day – we were a bit short in Adelaide [in the semifinal], we lost the first day of the World Test Championship, we didn’t bowl well after Australia were three down [in Sunday’s final] and we didn’t bat well enough.”

Dravid dismissed suggestions that his team crumbled under the weight of expectations of being favourites.

“I didn’t feel at any stage going into this game that there were any nerves or that the guys were intimidated by the game,” he said.

“They were looking forward to it and were excited [about the game].

“The energy and mental space the boys were in heading into this game was spot on. It was terrific. It was just on the day we didn’t execute and Australia were better than us.”

Dravid mum on future

For India, the next opportunity to win a world title will come at next year’s Twenty20 World Cup in the United States and the Caribbean.

None of the India players or coaching staff has revealed their plans for the future.

India captain Rohit Sharma will be 37 by the time the tournament gets under way in June, while star batter Virat Kohli turned 35 earlier this month.

Dravid, in his fourth year as the team’s head coach, was guarded in answering whether all three will still be around for India.

“All our campaign and energies were focused on this match and tournament,” he said.

“I haven’t given it any thought and I have no plans of what is going to happen in the future.”

Dravid’s team are set to face Australia in three days when both teams meet again in a five-match T20 series to be played in India.

Several members of the World Cup squad are expected to sit out of the series but are likely to return to action when India travel to South Africa for a T20, ODI and Test series starting next month.

Source: Al Jazeera