In a surprising turn of events at the World Cup final in Ahmedabad, India’s invincible streak came to an end, and former cricketer Harbhajan Singh expressed his shock at the team’s decision regarding the pitch. Australia, known for their prowess in big matches, clinched the title as India faltered on the slow and dry Ahmedabad track.
For ten consecutive matches, India displayed dominance, whether with the bat or the ball, making a third World Cup title seem imminent. However, the ultimate showdown saw Australia emerge victorious. While many attribute it to Australia’s historic strength in World Cup history, Harbhajan Singh believes a critical factor was the decision made right at the beginning – the toss.
Pat Cummins, torn between options, ultimately chose to bowl first, a decision that proved crucial on the slow Ahmedabad pitch. India, batting first, managed only 240 runs, a total that fell short of expectations on the challenging surface.
Harbhajan Singh, in conversation with India Today, expressed his surprise at India’s choice of a slow wicket for the final. He argued that a quicker pitch would have allowed India’s in-form batting lineup to make a more significant impact on the game.
“I think it was the kind of pitch which was on the slower side. It was drier than the usual pitch. You know, I would have liked to see a pitch where a lot of scores like 300 plus been scored. That sort of pitch would have India more than this kind of pitch where, you know, you bring your opposition in the game,” said Harbhajan.
The Ahmedabad track, which witnessed IPL franchise Gujarat Titans scoring over 200 runs on multiple occasions in the last season, raised questions about India’s decision. Harbhajan pointed out that a slightly better pitch could have allowed India to capitalize on their excellent form throughout the tournament.
When asked whether India would have won the World Cup without tinkering with the pitch, Harbhajan concurred, stating, “I believe India was the superior side.” Despite discussions with Australian friends who initially favored India, the execution of Australia’s plan on the challenging pitch led to their triumph.
Harbhajan concluded, “If the wicket was slightly on a better side, one with the ball coming nicely onto the bat, I think we would have enjoyed more.” The hindsight analysis suggests that the pitch choice played a significant role in shaping the outcome of the World Cup final, leaving fans and cricket enthusiasts pondering what could have been on a different surface.