Former football captain Bhaichung Bhutia lauded India's performance in the ICC Cricket World Cup following the team's heartbreaking loss to New Zealand in the first semifinal, at Old Trafford. He said that sometimes the best side doesn't win.
Chasing a modest target of 240 against a spirited New Zealand, India's famed top-order imploded on a day when it mattered the most as it lost the crucial semifinal by 18 runs in Manchester on Wednesday.
"As Virat (Kohli) described it, 'it was 45 minutes of bad cricket.' But, if we play New Zealand, we will beat them 10 out of ten times. We lost, it is part of the game. And, if you are out, you are out, it is not that it (India) was a bad team," Bhutia told PTI on the sidelines of an event.
India enjoyed an impressive run in the group stages, winning seven of their eight matches. However, a stunning top-order collapse in the semifinal shattered the dreams of lifting a third trophy, but Bhutia asserted that Virat Kohli's side were "the best team in the World Cup".
"It is just that the best team did not win it, sometimes you become the best, but the best team does not win, it happens in sports. We (India) will have to come back strong," he said.
Bhutia, who has 107 international caps and 42 goals and is one of the most accomplished footballers to emerge from India, also urged the ICC to spread the sport.
"I strongly feel that the ICC should start spreading the game to other countries. We need to see more teams, new teams picking up the game," he said.
He cited the global fanbase of football in this regard.
"In this cricket World Cup, we just saw Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani fans in the stadium, we need to see more people (from other countries), need to spread the game."