The 2-0 win over New Zealand will no doubt bolster India’s confidence as they look ahead to the rest of the season. It is perhaps the first time that an Indian season has begun this early and the rains did interrupt a bit of play, but did not come in the way of a result. The New Zealand team was way short of experience and also batting class, and so lost the Tests quite easily.
They relied very heavily on Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum and while Taylor came to the party with a belligerent century in the first innings of the second Test at Bangalore, McCullum failed, and that put enormous pressure on the inexperienced batting line up. Much was expected of Guptill and Kane Williamson, who had batted well in the Tests in India a couple of years back, but they were unable to replicate that form this time.
The New Zealand bowlers were impressive though with their new ball attack giving a hard time to India’s batting line up. Tim Southee brought into the team instead of the experienced Chris Martin fully justified his inclusion by bowling quite splendidly to capture 7 wickets in the first innings. That effort though seemed to have taken a bit of the sting off his bowling in the second innings, and though he bowled a few good deliveries, he was not as consistent as he was in the first innings.
Even though Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell did not get big hauls they caused quite a few problems for the Indian batsmen, and never allowed them to settle down. The Kiwis certainly have a potent attack on pitches that will help the seam bowlers and will cause a few headaches to batsmen in those conditions.
For India Virat Kohli showed how well he is maturing by playing what is referred to as a Test innings. He bided his time and once the bowlers were tired he went after them and got a fine hundred. He followed that up with another fine half century knock that took India to a win in the company of his skipper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Dhoni's batting in all three innings rubbished all those, who take refuge in saying that they can only bat in one style. Anybody, who has seen the Indian skipper's batting at the beginning of his international career and his approach now, know of the wonderful adjustment he has made and though some may argue that his devil may care approach was more exciting, the fact remains that his current method works very well for his team. When needed he can and does blast the ball away, but it is his shot selection that is most impressive.
There are some in the team, who can take a leaf or two out of that. Flexibility is the key and if they are going to be inflexible then they should be left out to ponder whether to play for the team or themselves.
This Weeks accolade of the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week is shared by two young men, Virat Kohli and Tim Southee, for their sterling efforts for their teams with bat and ball.
Professional Management Group