The head Coach Rahul Dravid opened up on the players’ mindset and revealed that the dressing room was an emotional place.
Rahul Dravid’s words on defeat in World Cup finals
India suffered a defeat in the final of the World Cup 2023 at Ahmedabad Stadium where Australia won by six wickets. Winning the toss Australia chose to bowl where they folded the Men in Blues for 240 runs. Australia chased the target by the end of 43 overs and won the match by 6 wickets.
It was a heartbreaking moment for Indian players as they failed to obtain victory despite trying so hard to win the finals. Players like Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli are found in tears on losing the match.
On this occasion, the head coach Rahul Dravid backed the side despite the men in Blues losing the match.
“I won’t agree that we played with fear. We had 80 runs in 10 overs. We had lost wickets, and when you lose wickets you have to change your strategy,” Dravid said at the post-match press conference.
Rahul Dravid suggested that if India had another 30-40 runs the result could have been better. He thinks that 280 could be a good total for defending.
“We haven’t played any fearful cricket in this final. In the middle overs, they bowled really well and we had lost three wickets. So a period of consolidation was needed, and every time we thought we could get on the attack, we would lose a wicket,” he said. “If you lose wickets, you have to rebuild. We didn’t set out to play defensively.”
“Just felt like the ball was stopping in the afternoon a little bit more than it did in the evening. It felt like the ball came onto the bat a lot better in the evening. There was that period where the ball was stopping and we weren’t able to get boundaries. We were able to rotate the strike but we weren’t able to get those boundaries.
“If we had got to 280-290 and they were 60 for 3 then it might have been a very different game. But 240, I think they were always one partnership away from getting there.”
India had seen three big defeats in the last 13 months with their exit in the T20 World Cup Test Championship and the World Cup 2023 finals.
“I’ve been involved in three… and I think we haven’t played really well on the day. I thought we were a bit short in Adelaide, in the semi-final [of the T20 World Cup, against England]. We lost the first day in the World Test Championship [final]. We didn’t bowl particularly well after Australia were three down. And here we didn’t bat well enough.
“There’s not one particular reason you can pin it down to. I didn’t feel at any stage going into this game that there were any nerves or the guys were intimidated by the game. I thought the energy and the mental space the boys were in leading into this particular game was spot on.”
Despite the loss, the head coach Rahul Dravid applauded Rohit Sharma for the leadership qualities he showed throughout the game.
“I think he has been an exceptional leader, always felt he’s led this team fantastically well. He’s given so much of his time and energy in the dressing room to the boys. There’s been a lot of planning, a lot of strategy, he’s always committed to those things.
“His batting as well, I thought it was fantastic the way he set the tone for us. We knew that we wanted to play a certain way, we wanted to play a positive, attacking brand of cricket, and he was very committed to doing that. He wanted to lead by example, and I thought right throughout the tournament he was superb. Can’t speak more highly of him, as a person and a leader.”
“There was a lot of emotions in that dressing room. It was tough to see as a coach because I know how hard these guys have worked, what they’ve put in, the sacrifices they’ve made. But that’s sport. That happens. It can happen.”
“And the better team won on the day. I’m sure the sun will come up tomorrow morning. We’ll learn from it, we’ll reflect, and we’ll move on. That’s what you do as a sportsman. You have some great highs in sports, and you have some lows in sports. And you keep moving on. You don’t stop,” he concluded.
India will be playing their 5-match T20I series against Australia starting their first T20I on November 23 at ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium.