Sports

India bites the dust in the WTC final

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By Ashis Ray

Ageas Bowl (Southampton), June 23 (IANS) In the end, there was no need for any business on the part of any of the skippers to produce a result.

India folded slightly; and this paved the way for a famous New Zealand victory in the final of the World Test Championship (WTC), their first triumph in an ICC event after their victory in the ICC Champions Trophy in 2000.

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The winners of the preliminary world championship and therefore the overall champions of cricket – in fact a scoop to taste the black caps.

It was tight and tense until the conclusion. India had to remove the experienced duo Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor who formed a union for the third arrow. Cheteshwar Pujara dropped the latter at the first drop of an otherwise under-pair Jasprit Bumrah.

Batting was difficult throughout the game; but New Zealand fared better under the circumstances. Thus, India is not yet conquering an ICC title under the captain of Virat Kohli.

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Rishab Pant lived dangerously. But he combined his airy fairy strokes with some exquisite drives. The 23-year-old is undoubtedly talented; but he needs to cultivate technique and temperament. Reportedly feeling uncomfortable, he made room for Wriddhiman Saha with the gloves after tea.

Whether the New Zealand pacers made better use of the atmosphere and pitch than their Indian counterparts, or whether there was less help in the middle of the afternoon sun when India got their chance with the new ball, the latter was noticeably less effective.

New Zealand has a population of five million or 0.36 percent of India. The country’s investment in cricket is negligible compared to the spending in India. A David versus Goliath scenario. Still, David killed Goliath because of better use of limited resources.

The Indian cricket side, on this particular occasion, nicely equipped with traditional jerseys, is fortunate that almost no matter where in the world they play, there is no shortage of their supporters among the spectators.

They sponged with bearing conch shells and blew them hard in hopes of resisting the evil spirits – as the superstitious do during periods of earthquakes. But the plaintiff’s sound from wind instruments did not affect the incentive of New Zealand swing traders.

Every time an Indian border not rolled up in the middle of the arrows or a New Zealand batsman came out, fans would experience their voices with fresh but abandoned shouts of “INDIA JEETEGA”.

For the first time in a week, the sun shone brightly out of a cloudless blue sky on Wednesday. The green field with patterned squares looked brilliant. The elegant architecture of the modern facility brilliant. But the Indian batting disintegrated.

In six consecutive test-innings against New Zealand, Kohli’s team could not cross 250; of which four times have been fired for less than 200. This underscores an inability to tackle movement in the air and outside the seam.

Admittedly, Black Caps had two advantages. English conditions correspond to New Zealand; and after playing two trials against England during the WTC final, their preparation was perfect. But then India knew this.

With the exception of 1986, the first half of an English summer – and the month of June falls into this category – has always been Indian crickets Waterloo. In IANS ‘preview of the WTC final, we had highlighted whether it would have been wise for India to dismiss a warm-up commitment before such an invaluable match.

How could BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, with his extensive background at the highest level of the game, have allowed the Indians to become paralyzed for slaughter?

When he saw the match, former Indian spinner Dilip Doshi, who spent about 15 years playing county or league cricket in England, said: “For much of the game, the Indians looked like playing a practice match.”

(Senior cricket writer Ashis Ray is a TV station and author of the book ‘Cricket World Cup: The Indian Challenge’)

–IANS

ashis / arm

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