Kane Williamson-led New Zealand became Test cricket’s first official World champion as they defeated India by eight wickets in the inaugural World Test Championship (WCT) final on Wednesday after losing successive one-day finals.
The blackcaps have been to the semi-final of the 50-over World Cup eight times and lost the last two finals, heartbreakingly to England on the boundary countback rule after the 2019 decider was tied. However, they didn’t lose hope and kept on giving their hundred percent in the game and they finally got the chance to celebrate on Wednesday.
Skipper Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor made it easy for Kiwis as the duo combined from 44-2 after the loss of the openers to achieve the target of 139 with seven overs remaining. Taylor hit the winning runs flicking a Mohammed Shami ball over midwicket. He was 47 not out and Williamson was 52 not out, only the second half-century of the final.
Meanwhile, India’s current skipper Virat Kohli is still looking for his maiden ICC trophy title as a captain after coming so close in the 2017 Champions Trophy finals, and then in the 2019 Worldcup semi-finals. It would not be so good to say but it seems that there is a jink going around for the Indian captain when winning those major trophies. With that being said, here are 3 reasons why India lost the ICC World Test Championship final.
1. Poor Squad Selection
Indian bowlers did not get as much swing with the Dukes ball in the ongoing WTC Final as compared to the New Zealand pacers Trent Boult, Tim Southee, and Kyle Jamieson. It would not be the same if Bhuvneswar would have been bowling.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who holds blistering record in English conditions wasn’t even included in the squad for the WTC final. He should have been included in the Indian playing XI due to the swinging conditions in England instead of going in with 3 seamers – Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has not played Test cricket for India since January 2018 but was the Player of the Series for the national team on his only tour of England in 2014. Bhuvi picked 19 wickets at 26.63 with 2 five-wicket hauls and scored 247 runs in 5 Tests at 27.44 including 3 half-centuries on his maiden Test series in England.
2. Poor Batting Display
To be honest, India was not good enough with the bat, and while beginning off strongly in the first innings, they suddenly lost wickets in clusters and failed to rack up a good score. Senior batsmen like Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, and Virat Kohli could have done a better job of getting the team out of difficult situations but unfortunately, they too didn’t look so good with the bat. The lower order also failed miserably and couldn’t contribute much to the team.
The Indian batsmen never seemed at ease on the field, and their weakness against the moving ball was completely revealed to its full extent in English conditions. Their mindset also looked different from that of the New Zealand batsmen. On the last day of the match, it seemed like India was playing for Draw while Kiwis never thought about Draw and they only had ‘victory’ in their mind.
3. Poor Fielding Display
There is a saying in Cricket – “We can not win matches if we keep dropping catches.” Well, that is a great saying as we just witnessed how dropped catches can make a big difference in the match.
India’s leftover hopes of salvaging a draw in the World Test Championship (WTC) final slipped away when Pujara dropped the catch of Ross Taylor, the main man of the black caps. Jasprit Bumrah was brought back in and the quick immediately managed to induce a thick edge off Ross Taylor’s bat only for Cheteshwar Pujara to spill it at first slip but unfortunately, Pujara dropped the chance.
That catch might or might not have been impacted the game but one thing is for sure that Taylor’s departure would have helped India put pressure on Kiwis.