Kudos to Kiwis on lifting inaugural WTC Trophy
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Kudos to Kiwis on lifting inaugural WTC Trophy

June 25, 2021

By V.N. Prasad

The inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship 2019-21 started on the 1st of August, 2019 with the Ashes Series and ended at this final on the 23rd of June, 2021 at the Rose Bowl, England. In the 61 matches of the Championship played between 9 nations, Marnus Labuschagne topped batting with 1,675 runs at an average of 73. Ashwin topped bowling with 71 wickets. Black Caps beat India in the finals.

Epitome of character is when you deliver in difficult situations. That was exactly what skipper Williamson (52) and Taylor (47) did in the 2nd innings to pip India by 8 wickets in the finals at the Hampshire Bowl, Southampton, England, to lift the ‘World Test Championship’ trophy.

Momentum was clearly with the Kiwis since the beginning of the Test. The team was oozing with confidence having beaten the English decisively at 1-0 in a ‘two Tests’ series in the English backyard; just before the WTC. As a unit, they gelled and excelled on the field.

Thanks to the efficient design of storm-water drainage, the outfield at Hampshire Bowl sustained torrential rains on the 17th and 18th; and showers in-between; reducing the Test to a three day encounter. Though the outfield was a tad slow, the 22 yard played very well and consistent. Full marks to the curator and team for untiring efforts in maximising play times.

Mediocrity was writ large in the Indian camp. There was no authoritative batting display in both the innings. Needless to repeat that the opening partnerships bear great strength in building innings. Neither Rohit nor Gill exhibited any intent to stay, grind the new ball and consolidate. Cutting and pulling short-pitched deliveries are fundamental to batting but, patience in the 1st session or 30 overs is the key. The country knows that Rohit is a suspect in Test matches. Young Gill will perish if he fails to build the ‘Big Match’ temperament. On the hind-sight, it is painful to see seasoned campaigners in Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul and Mayank Agarwal out of the side. Mark my words. ‘No other country will give so many opportunities’. Several questions arose in the bargain. Do we indulge in too many chopping and changing? Are we forgetting the youngsters like Washy Sundar, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur? Did India pick the wrong eleven? What is the kind of damage created to young minds in the melee? Is fear factor killing talent — like the forgotten Karun Nair who was totally sidelined after scoring triple hundred against the English; His maiden?

In the midst of this melee, Pujara looked shaky and vulnerable. Virat and Rahane looked out of sorts. Pant lived by the sword and perished by the sword in the 2nd inning. There was nothing to expect from either Jadeja or Ashwin. Score cards reading — IND 217&170 and NZ 249&140/2 — doesn’t augur well for a WTC final.

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However, bowling department on both the sides did very well. The 3rd ICC ranked Tim Southee-led from the front for Kiwis. Young Kyle Jamieson virtually jammed our batting with 7 for 61. They were backed by Trent Boult; 5 for 86; sending ‘bolts from the blue’ and Neil Wagner effectively.

For India, Md. Shami was the most effective with 4 for 76. Ashwin bowled with imagination scalping 4 for 45; ably supported by Ishant. Somehow, Bumrah was ineffective leaking 92 without a wicket.

Kiwi Wicket-Keeper Watling announced his retirement. Per commentator, Ian Bishop, Watling is a Wk/Batsman who cherished coming to the crease in challenging circumstances and produced wonderful knocks. The 35-year-old South Africa- born-keeper-cum-batsman in his 75 appearances became only the 10th in test history to have scored a double hundred against England in 2019. Cricket-lovers across the globe wish him well and thank him for his tenure.

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Kudos to Kiwis on lifting inaugural WTC Trophy”

  1. boregowda says:

    If the Indian Cricket selectors were even half serious they should have retained the team that won the final two tests against Australia minus Kohli. The out of form and aging players of India should have been dropped for this test. But then Indian selectors don’t play fair and to win.

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