The World Test Championship (WTC) Final was supposed to be the peak of achievement for an Indian Test squad that has been unstoppable at home for the previous five and a half years, winning historic tournaments in Australia, the West Indies, and Sri Lanka. However, it turned out to be another example of Indian batting’s vulnerability to good seam and swing bowling.
The team’s dismal performance has already been dissected by fans and analysts. Although India may take some positives from the game, the majority of the players’ performances were below average. India now has a month free to rest and prepare for a tough five-match Test series against England after winning the WTC final. Before the England series, we may expect certain modifications to be implemented.
With this loss, India’s winless streak in ICC events continues, and concerns regarding the team’s failure to clear the final barrier at a time when Indian cricket is at its best must be asked. Those questions must be raised, and the Indian cricket board and its players must respond rather than sweeping the issue under the carpet owing to their hubris.
One of the main reasons for India’s poor totals was Pujara’s failure with the bat in both innings. Cheteshwar Pujara failed to make a significant impact to the game with scores of 8 and 15. For the duration of the WTC, he has averaged fewer than 30 runs. After scoring 8 runs in 54 balls in the first innings, he was bowled by Boult’s inswinger; in the second innings, Kyle Jamieson accounted for him with a jaffa as he was attempting to defend it. In a low-scoring game, Pujara’s 23 runs in two innings on 134 balls may have been counter-productive to the team’s total. Dropping Ross Taylor in the second innings added to the dismay, as India were defeated by New Zealand by eight wickets.
Pant failed to show calm and composure in this match. There’s a distinction to be made between aggressiveness and ridiculousness. Rishabh Pant must be forced to realize this. Throughout his Test career, MS Dhoni had the authority and capability to go after the bowling, but he did it with the match circumstances in mind. Pant just doesn’t get it, and every time he bats without accountability, it affects the team. He may have scored 41 runs in the second innings of the WTC final, but his daring swipe when batting on four in the first innings is exactly why he has been chastised by experts all over the globe. Pant’s fast rise in Tests was derailed by a lackluster performance in the WTC final.
Rahane’s inconsistency is only getting worse, and it’s past time for India to find a more reliable number 5. Yes, he is India’s leading scorer in the WTC final, but Rahane has long done just enough to keep his place in the squad. That is much insufficient for India. He had two easy dismissals: the first was a half-hearted meek pull shot, and the second was a strangling down the leg side. Rahane’s 49 was vital in the first innings, but he was dismissed in the second innings after a reckless shot when the team needed him the most.
In the first innings, Ravindra Jadeja failed to add some crucial runs with the tail and was caught gently by Boult down the leg side. In improved batting circumstances on Day 6, he added 16 runs in the second innings before succumbing to Neil Wagner, who set him up with a bouncer barrage and caught him with a length delivery. In the first innings, the all-rounder only bowled 7.2 overs and gave up over three runs in the second.
On a seamer-friendly ground, the Mumbai pacer remained wicketless in both innings and struggled to strike the proper distances. Bumrah appeared to be off his game from the first over, as he struggled to strike the correct length throughout the match. Bumrah should have at least gotten a wicket for but Pujara failed him as he dropped the catch. With Shami and Ishant going out, Bumrah was unable to keep up the pace on his end, allowing the pressure to relax. For the forthcoming five Tests against England, he must get his form and confidence back.