Team India has failed in the ultimate Test – WTC final 2021 . Losing the inaugural Championship match at Southampton to a gritty and determined New Zealand by eight wickets . A match which was hit hard by rain interruptions with first and fourth day washout. Yet India’s misery did not end.
The much vaunted Indian batting line-up wilted in both the innings against the relentless four – man Kiwi pace attack comprising – Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and the giant 6ft8 Kyle Jamieson . The below par totals of scores of 217 and 170 tell the story. The Kiwi pace quartet bowled with lot of discipline . The fielding barring some drop chances ( did not cost heavily) was sharp . Indian batsmen struggled to get runs . There was lack of intent from the batsmen too . Cheteshwar Pujara is guilty of the same . Look at the numbers of balls he faced and runs he scored. 8 off 54 in first innings and 15 off 80 in the second . This ultra defensive mindset has hurt India big time .
— ICC (@ICC) June 23, 2021
Deputy Ajinkya Rahane , Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja need to look at their shot selection. Skipper Virat Kohli seemed to be troubled by swinging deliveries . Twice in this match he was out to his RCB team- mate Kyle Jamieson. So ahead of the England series it is time to work on the flaws,
At a post- match virtual press conference Indian skipper Virat Kohli was peeved on the batting show . Kohli didn’t take any names but expressed his displeasure at some players for not showing enough ‘intent’ to score runs. By the runs scored the hint is clearly aimed at Pujara. Kohli also indicated the Test team like the white ball team will see some drastic changes ahead. And The five – match England series hence will be an acid test and could be curtains for some career’s .
“We will not wait for a year or so and have to plan ahead. If you see our white ball team now, we have great depth and guys are ready and confident. Same thing needs to be done with Test cricket. “You have to reassess and re-plan and understand what dynamics work for the team and how we can be fearless. Bring in right people who have right mindset to perform,” the skipper was quoted as saying.
Going into the WTC final, India unlike New Zealand did not get any match practice . Intra squad matches are no replacement for practice matches. New Zealand Board ensured the team before the WTC final got to play Two Tests against England. The Kiwis grabbed the opportunity and even went on to win the series 1-0 . So coming into the e WTC final they had the momentum and the confidence .
On the other hand, the richest cricket board i.e the BCCI and the hierarchy – president Sourav Ganguly and Secretary Jay Shah were holding deliberations how to complete the remainder of the IPL 2021 that was halted in India due to the second wave of COVID-19. Clearly the priorities of the two cricket boards were clearly visible.
In the captaincy battle, Kane Williamson stole the show with his astute leadership . He banked on his pace attack and they delivered . And in the end it was truly fitting that two of New Zealand’s greats Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor powered the team home . Taylor making it memorable by hitting the winning runs. The ecstatic reaction from the dressing room by kiwi players said it all. They deserved it thoroughly. For they were the better clinical side . Sans superstars they humbled superstar studded India in emphatic fashion.
If batting by India was a let – down, the bowling too barring Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami looked out of sorts . Ravichandran Ashwin took wickets but is not the same when the pitch is not turning. Ravindra Jadeja’s arm too did not create the magic it does. However, the biggest flop was Jasprit Bumrah. Bowling the wrong line and length , he was listless and hence went wicketless in such a big match.
The WTC final loss is big blow to Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri . That team India is without a ICC Trophy since 2013 Champions trophy is matter of serious concern. More so when the likes of Virat and Ravi Shastri , as skipper and head coach are at the helm for some time now. New Zealand has stunned India and given team India plenty to ponder regarding the team combination for the England Test series. It is a wake up call.
Lastly, England Test skipper Joe Root who has been at the receiving end after recent twin Test series losses to India earlier this year and New Zealand recently will be keen to take a leaf out of the Kiwi book as he plans to take revenge against India . So for Kohli and his men the England series will be trail by fire .