Off The Field

‘It’s a mindset thing’: Hayden on India’s ICC title drought, advises them to forget about outcome in WTC final

Written by Sumit Seth

Matthew Hayden reckons India’s title drought in ICC events in the past decade has to come down to the players’ mindset as skill was never an issue and has advised them to “forget about the outcome” going into the World Test Championship final against Australia.

India’s last ICC title came under the leadership of MS Dhoni back in 2013 and since then the team has fallen short in high pressure knock-out games including the 2017 Champions Trophy final against Pakistan, 2019 ODI World Cup semi-final versus New Zealand and more recently the T20 World Cup semi-final against England last year.

In the inaugural WTC final two years ago, India finished runners-up to New Zealand.
In terms of the financial and talent resources, India have been the sport’s powerhouse for long but the big titles have eluded them.
Can they turn it around against Australia at The Oval in the final from June 7?

“It’s certainly not a question of skill. So, it has to be a question of just the opportunity and the mindset going in. I mean, cricket is life here, it is the DNA of sport and has no other competitors,” Hayden, an important member of the all-conquering Australian team of 2000s, told PTI in an interview.

Cricket’s popularity in India is unmatched and therefore it creates more pressure around the players, said Hayden.

“In Australia I could walk down the street and largely be unrecognised, especially with this terrible beard and hat on (laughs). But it’s also got great competitive sports besides cricket. Rugby, football, our watersports, surfing, outdoor sports, here in India it’s very insular and there’s a lot of pressure.

“It’s the same with Pakistan cricket as well. There is one sport and it is cricket so it’s a mindset thing.”

“Being cautious about looking for the scoreboard and looking for the titles and just playing and being a part of the process, something when you look at franchise setups, Gujarat Titans have done really well this year and CSK have done very well. Mumbai Indians as well believe in a certain process.

“So, that would be my advice to Indian cricket to forget the outcomes, but buy into the process,” said one of the most destructive openers of his generation.

About the author

Sumit Seth