Having won the T20 series 5-0 against New Zealand, Team India under Virat kohli got off to a fine start to the New Zealand tour. But the euphoria of the T20 wins soon disappeared as the team was outplayed by New Zealand in the three match ODI series to follow. The Kiwis handed India a 3-0 ODI whitewash.
One hoped that the team after the dismal ODI series would fare well in the longer version . But alas the team was once again found wanting in pitches where there is bounce , swing and some quality in the bowling.
New Zealand found the chinks in the Indian team’s armour and did not allow India any breathing space . The result, the much talked about batting flopped miserably. India’s totals of 242, 124 at Christchurch and before that 165 and 191 at Wellington hardly justify the team’s number 1 Test ranking .
For skipper Virat Kohli it was a forgettable Test series. The astute Kiwis bowlers Trent Boult, Time Southee and the big Kyle Jamieson bowled to a plan and Kohli just could not break free. 38 runs in two Tests at an average of 9.50 with highest of 19 is just not the scores one expects from one of the world’s top batsmen. Kohli flopped and India felt the pressure.
Indian batting in the Test series was in tatters – Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant just could not get going. Shot selection was poor and the intent was missing. With Shubman Gill , Shreyas Iyer waiting time is running out for Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane. Having lost his place in ODI and T20 squad’s . His India career could well be over if runs do not come from his blade in whatever chances he is getting.
Low in confidence and form and left out of T20’s and ODI’s, Rishabh Pant finds himself in the Test line- up while experienced Wriddhiman Saha is left to cool his heels in the dressing room. This musical chair policy in wicket-keeping is doing no good the confidence of the both. With both unsure about their places how can they deliver ? One wonder why and in- from K L Rahul was not picked for the Tests, especially with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma out with injury.
India’s bowling too did not fire. Ishant Sharma was unlucky to miss out the second test with injury. he bowled well in the first test . Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami found wickets hard to come by. They struggled for wickets. They were among the wickets at Christchurch Test but it was too late. India also faced the familiar problem of not able to polish off the Kiwis tailender’s and it cost them dearly in both the Test matches.
Barring India’s 2-1 Test series win against Australia in 2018-19, Under Ravi Shastri as head coach now India has lost two test series off- late in England ( 4-1) 2018 and this 2-0 against the Kiwis.
The humiliation in New Zealand in Tests and before that in ODI’s have exposed several flaws in team India. former batsman and commentator Sanjay Manjrekar had compared the India team under Kohli with the team of Pakistan under legendary all- rounder Imran Khan. Well, the comparison is nothing but laughable . Just like Ravi Shastri’s reported boast of saying this is the best travelling Indian team in the last 15- 20 years.
Having Rs 700 crore largest stadium in the world , pink ball, day-night Tests are innovations in tune with the times. But it is also pertinent to have a side which can win Test series abroad too consistently.
And finally former England skipper Michael Vaughan’s comments may be hard on team India but it is a reality when he recently wrote in twitter : NZ giving India a lesson in how to play in conditions where the ball moves through the air … They can’t be regarded as a great team till they start winning in places like NZ & England .