India's cabinet left bare despite decade at the top


India have spent 10 years at the top of all three formats of world cricket and still have nothing to show for it.

That's the stark reality facing coach Rahul Dravid and his team after they were stunned by Australia in Sunday night's World Cup final in Ahmedabad.

Clearly the best team in the tournament, India were virtually unchallenged until the final but still missed out on the trophy, through a comprehensive defeat.

Most worrying for India, is that this is nothing new.

Since the start of 2013, India have spent a combined 98 months at the top of the ICC Test, ODI and T20 world rankings.

That number is well clear of anyone else, with Australia next best with a combined 85 months at the top of the tree.

But in that time, India have repeatedly failed to convert their dominance into silverware.

They have lost two World Test Championship finals in a row, were beaten by Sri Lanka in the 2014 T20 World Cup decider and now Australia in the 2023 ODI final.

Defeats have also come in the 2016 and 2022 T20 World Cup semi-finals, along with the 2015 and 2019 ODI semi-finals.

Their one success in that time is the 2013 Champions Trophy win, the long-forgotten cousin of the ICC's global events.

"If you look at it, in all three formats, we are the number one team at the moment," Dravid said after Sunday's six-wicket loss.

"But obviously for us, there is a disappointment of not winning the trophy."

This World Cup had at times felt like a six-week long coronation for the India side, with Sunday's match at the 132,000-seat Narendra Modi Stadium meant to be the crowning moment.

But as notable as the parochial support was, equally significant was the silence that descended on the stadium when things began to turn against India in their innings of 240 and as Australia took control of the chase.

"I didn't feel at any stage going into this game that there were any nerves or the guys were intimidated by the game," Dravid said.

"We haven't played really well on the day (in finals). We were a bit short in Adelaide, in the (2022 T20) semi-final (against England).

"We lost the first day in the World Test Championship, unfortunately. We didn't bowl particularly well after Australia was three down there.

"And here we didn't bat well enough. So there's not one particular reason you can pin it down to."


T20, 2014: Lost final to Sri Lanka by six wickets

ODI, 2015: Lost semi-final to Australia by 95 runs

T20, 2016: Lost semi-final to West indies by seven wickets

ODI, 2019: Lost semi-final to New Zealand by 18 runs

Test Championship, 2021: Lost final to New Zealand by eight wickets

T20, 2021: Group-stage exit

T20, 2022: Lost semi-final to England by 10 wickets

Test Championship, 2023: Lost final to Australia by 209 runs

ODI, 2023: Lost final to Australia by six wickets