The current Indian side in the ongoing World Cup has been profusely ruthless. It would not be completely wrong to say that this Indian side does remind us of the Australian team of the 2003 World Cup. The Aussie side then was given the title of being an “Invincible” side. Judging by recent performances, the Indian side is on the path of attaining the title of being an “Invincible” side.
But in early 2014, the same Indian side was hammered 0-4 by the Kiwis in New Zealand. The Indians then looked like a pale shadow of themselves. The Kiwis simply bossed the Indians back then. But would it be wrong to say that the disastrous tour of New Zealand in 2013/14 was a blessing in disguise for the Indians? Absolutely not!
Given below, is the analysis with 5 Reasons why The Disastrous Tour Of New Zealand in 2013/14 was a blessing in disguise –
1. Showed the overdependence on Virat Kohli-MS Dhoni –
During the 2013/14 series, the Indian batting lineup was summed up in two names – Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. Barring the two, the Indian batsmen collapsed like a pack of cards. Kohli and Dhoni were the spine of the batting. When just two batsmen score 42% of the aggregate series total of a team, then it indeed is a source of worry.
That series was an alarming wake up call for the rest of the batsmen to shoulder the responsibility. The wake-up call seems to have done the trick. After six games into the World Cup, probably every Indian batsman is in good touch.
2. Significance of spin –
In the ODI series against New Zealand, the performance of the Indian spinners was simply miserable. In the entire five match series, R.Ashwin, managed to pick just one wicket. Not just Ashwin, but the performance of Ravindra Jadeja too was disappointing. Jadeja picked just 4 wickets and averaged in excess of 60 with the ball.
Due to the spinners not doing their job, the Kiwi batsmen found it easy to capitalize in the middle overs. In this World Cup though, both the spinners have been terrific to say the least. Ashwin has 12 wickets from 6 games, at an average of just 21.50.
3. Significance of pacers –
India’s best pacer during the 2013/14 series was Mohammed Shami. Shami took 11 wickets, but at an economy rate of 7.18. It has to be noted that most of the 11 wickets were taken during the death overs, when they barely made an impact. Shami and the other pacers were atrociously wayward and their line and lengths were taken for a toss.
However, those five games in New Zealand educated the Indian seamers regarding the control and discipline which they needed. The results of that lesson are pretty evident. The Indian side in the World Cup so far has managed to take 60 wickets in just 6 games! And yes, it’s been the pacers who have made the early inroads with their stellar performances!
4. Competing with a hard-hitting side –
The New Zealand side back then was dictating terms to the Indians. Since the last year and a half, the Kiwis have been the most lethal ODI side. Their new ball pair of Southee and Boult has demolished batting lineups with utmost ease. On the other hand, their batsmen have plundered massive totals against the opposition bowlers. Since the first ODI of the India- New Zealand series, Kane Williamson averages a staggering 68.26 with the bat.
In 22 innings, Williamson has scored 3 tons and ten half centuries. In a way, playing against New Zealand back then, prepared India to face daunting tasks and stern tests. The result is clearly visible. The way India thrashed Pakistan and South Africa recently; it was greatly because of facing the riveting Kiwi side a year back.
5. Adjusting to foreign conditions –
The conditions have a massive influence on the performance of an individual. A vast majority of the Indian side hadn’t played in New Zealand before the tour last year. As a result, they failed to get acclimatized to the conditions and were completely blown away.
Nonetheless, it were the foreign conditions, which mentally prepared the Indian players of adjusting and doing well in any part of the globe. Countering the threatening swing and bounce was a serious issue for the Indians a year ago. But now, post that tour, it has made Indian batsmen mentally tougher. The Indian batsmen now can get onto the field with the approach that they can succeed in any part of the globe and achieve glory.
As a whole, the tour of New Zealand in 2013/14 was a tremendous learning curve for the Indians. The Indians have improved a lot since then and seem to be a reckoning force in this ongoing edition of the World Cup.