One would wonder what has happened to World Champions India. Two tournaments and no appearance in the finals. After failing to reach the best-of-three finals in Australia tri-series, India have now been knocked out of Asia Cup on Tuesday night.
After the highs of World Cup 2011 in April at the Wakhede Stadium in Mumbai, India is yet to win any silverware in a multi-nation tournament.
Come April 2, 2012, India will celebrate World Cup winning anniversary. Hang on. They will not be thinking of reliving that euphoria yet again as they get busy with the Indian Premier League preparations. They did not have time last year too as they failed to celebrate in a fitting manner as IPL robbed that opportunity.
India's bowling stocks have depleted since the non-availability of Zaheer Khan. India's unsuccessful stints in two tournaments have been due to lack of quality bowlers.
While the batsmen, led by young Virat Kohli, have given much hope for Team India, it is time to find good quality bowlers if India have to play like true World Champions.
Since winning the World Cup, India have featured in only two tournaments involving more than two teams. And both have come this year. First, it was the tri-series involving India, Australia and Sri Lanka. Then it was Asia Cup with four teams.
Apart from these, India played four bilateral series in the 50-over format. Two each, at home and away, against West Indies and England.
After the World Cup triumph, they went to West Indies and won the five-match series 3-2. Then the England tour followed. But England blanked India 3-0 in the 5-match rubber. One game was a tie and the other a no result.
India proved that they are tigers at home when they thrashed England 5-0 in October, 2011. Later when West Indies arrived, they too got a rough treatment, India claiming the series 4-1. That series was famous for stand-in captain Virender Sehwag's world record score of 219.
In the tri-series in Australia, India played eight games and won only three, lost four and one was a tie against Sri Lanka.
MS Dhoni and his men were hailed as favourites to win the Asia Cup but they lost one game out of three in league stage and that proved costly as hosts Bangladesh knocked them out.
Since winning the World Cup, India have played 31 ODIs, winning 17 and have lost 11 while there were two ties and one no result.
Of the 17 victories, 9 came at home and two more in the subcontinent. So, most of the wins are in Asian conditions where the team enjoys playing.
In between the failures in ODIs, India have been humiliated 8-0 in Tests, all on foreign pitches (4 each in Australia and England). After the World Cup, they did win a Test series abroad, against the West Indies (1-0 in three-match rubber).
Now, India will travel to South Africa to play a one-off Twenty20 International on March 30. And then it is IPL time.
It is time for India to play like World Champions. They need to stack up victories not only in Indian conditions but abroad, that is the hallmark of a World Champion. Hope we see that soon.