India couldn’t have asked for better weather to start their tour of New Zealand. When you come so close to the South Pole, the big worry apart from the time difference is the weather, which, when it gets cold can be even more felt than in England. The players tend to field with their hands inside their pockets using finger warmers and the shoulders are hunched against the wind.
It’s not something that the Indians are used to, and so they lose a bit of the edge to their game and give the impression of wanting to be in the warmth of their changing room rather than out on the field. That’s why the hot conditions in Napier were just what the doctor ordered for the Indians. It may not be as hot in the remaining games of the tour, so India had to make the most of it.
Surprisingly, they opted to field first, because the hot conditions wouldn’t have helped provide any swing for their new ball bowlers and would have also tired them a bit. Once again, Mohammed Shami was impressive as he got the ball to swing late and bowled a lot fuller.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was playing after being left out of the team in South Africa, and so he took his time settling down bowling a few wides, but in the end, his figures were excellent with one wicket for 38 in his quota of 10 overs. India did quite well in the final few overs despite some huge hitting by Corey Anderson, who undoubtedly is going to be one of the hottest picks in this year’s IPL auction, for apart from his big hitting he can bowl usefully too.
India needed a good start, but Rohit Sharma is unnecessarily adding to his problems by getting into a slanging match with the bowlers. The best way to answer them is through the bat. By getting distracted by the bowlers’ verbals, he is not helping his concentration at all.
Shikhar Dhawan too has to practice a lot more against the short ball, for it is quite clearly giving him a problem and he needs to work harder at it, else he is going to get loads more of it. As it is, as an opening batsman, bouncers are a major part of the dish bowlers cook, so he has to develop a taste for it.
What can one say about Virat Kohli except that he continues to get better with every outing. There was a time when he too would get into unnecessary wrangles with the bowlers and fielders, but he avoids all that now and just focuses on batting. The drives he played were stunning, and there is no better player of the short ball in the Indian team than him.
When skipper Dhoni came to join him, the asking rate had climbed up, but if there was a pair that was going to take India home, it was this pair, for not only do they have the big shots but they are also terrific runners between the wickets. Unfortunately, they both fell within the space of one over and that was the end of India’s chances.
Professional Management Group