Although India lost the World Test Championship final to New Zealand, they have to move on and concentrate on the next challenging Test series against England, with the first Test starting on August 4th in Nottingham. There were a few blunders that India made in the WTC final, and must avoid in the five-match England Test series. Criciwzz takes a look.
Get the team selection right
India erred by choosing two spinners on a seaming track in conditions favoring pace bowling, while the rain was predicted on all days of the WTC final. India went with two spin-all-rounders to boost their batting department, but the move backfired. Both Indian spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were ineffective on the Southampton pitch, although they took five wickets between themselves. However, it was Ashwin who looked a better spinner on these conditions, taking 4 wickets.
Nevertheless, two spinners were a luxury on this pitch. The two spin-all-rounders could not have had much of an impact with the bat either.
On the other hand, New Zealand made a wise team selection, going with four regular pacers, and one pace-bowling all-rounder. And it paid them rich dividends. And India had no chance to escape the relentless accurate pace bowling from the Kiwis.
Hence, choosing the right team is crucial in England’s conditions. It may be recalled Virat Kohli has erred in choosing an extra spinner over a pace bowler in England conditions before. And Kohli should get it right the next time, and avoid such bizarre team selections again even if it means the best spinner of the squad has to sit out of the game.
Lacking in intent
India batsmen looked hesitant, unsure of their footwork, and looked in two minds whether to attack or defend. When they went too defensive, they were prised out by the Kiwis’ bowling unit, and when they attacked a little extra, they holed out. C Pujara’s extra defensive approach see him lose his wickets cheaply in both innings, while Pant’s over-aggressive approach saw him concede a good start in the second innings.
Yes, India needs to be sure of their shot selection in England conditions, but getting bogged down would only hurt then, and being too adventurous would haunt them as well. Hence, a mixed approach of defense and attack is the best way to bat in England conditions.
Looking for runs always while playing a straight bat in defense would be the right approach when India plays the five-match Test series in England.
India looked complacent and rusty
India never looked in their elements in the WTC final as they were coming off a break after the IPL 2021 was postponed. Besides, they didn’t have any match practice before the WTC final. On the other hand, New Zealand was coming off a 1-0 series win against England in England, and have had all their players match fit.
In fact, India was complacent as they took New Zealand lightly. This attitude might hurt them in the England Test series. And hence, India needs to refocus their energies, turn around their attitude, and their batting and bowling need to be strategized on England conditions, or otherwise, India would be staring at another Test series loss in England.
A draw is as good as winning
India has had got their strategies wrong when they batted in the second innings. It looked India's lower-order looked to set a target for New Zealand when they were still not out of the danger of losing the game. Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, and the tailenders looked for quick runs when there will still 70 overs to go during the day, and India was just over 100 runs ahead. India did not look to eat up the overs to give themselves a chance of a draw and be joint winners.
Rather, they went all out looking for quick runs and eventually were able to set a target of just 139 runs which were easily overhauled by the Kiwis. India needs to rework their strategies ahead of England Tests.