Virat Kohli has suggested the International Cricket Council may want to consider changing the format of the World Cup after India’s dramatic semi-final exit.
India unleashed the fury of one billion fanatical cricket fans back home when they stumbled to an 18-run defeat by New Zealand at Old Trafford despite topping the table during the tournament’s protracted round-robin group stage.
It was arguably India’s worst defeat since losing against Bangladesh in Trinidad at the 2007 World Cup, a result that led to their crashing out in the first round. That tournament in the Caribbean 12 years ago started with four groups of four, meaning India, cricket’s most powerful economic draw, played only three matches.
The ICC, at the behest of the Indian board and broadcasters, ensured such an occurrence would never happen again by extending the first-round stage at World Cups; each team were guaranteed a minimum of nine matches at the tournament this year.
Now Kohli has suggested the latter stages should be tweaked as well in the format for the World Cup in 2023, to be held in India.
Asked whether he would like to see the tournament follow the model of the Indian Premier League, in which teams who finish top in the regular season get another chance to reach the final if they lose their first play‑off match, the India captain said: “Maybe. If topping the table means anything. I think these things can come into consideration, looking at the magnitude of this tournament. That is a really valid point. You never know when that is going to be implemented.
“You finish No 1 in the table and then a spell of bad cricket and you are out of the tournament completely. But you have to accept it.”
Kohli admitted he was heartbroken by the defeat after India had won eight of their nine group matches, losing only against England. “It doesn’t matter what you have done before that. It’s a fresh day, fresh start, and if you are not good enough you go home. So you have to accept that.
“I’m very disappointed. We played outstanding cricket throughout this tournament and to just go out on the basis of 45 minutes of bad cricket is saddening and it breaks your heart because you have worked so hard throughout the tournament to build momentum.”
In the mayhem at the start of their innings India crashed to 24 for four inside 10 overs before a century stand for the seventh-wicket between Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni brought them close to chasing down 240.
“I think we are sad but we are not devastated because of the kind of cricket that we played in this tournament,” Kohli said. “We were not good enough and that is the nature of this tournament. A bad day in the knockout stage and you are out. We didn’t stand up to the challenge and we were not good enough under pressure. We have to accept the failure as it shows on the scoreboard.”