I Think India Played With Fewer Batsmen In WTC Final: Irfan Pathan
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I Think India Played With Fewer Batsmen In WTC Final: Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan, former India all-rounder has said Virat Kohli’s team needed to play one more batsman in their line-up for the recently-concluded World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand.

Last week, Kane Williamson-led New Zealand defeated India in the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC) by 8 wickets to grab the Test mace at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton. The Kiwis are also currently placed in the number one spot in Tests in the world.

New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and teammates celebrate with the WTC trophy. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

Irfan Pathan: India’s Batting In The 2nd Innings Was Disappointing

Irfan Pathan said Indian batsmen attempting pull shots to the bouncers bowled at them by the New Zealand seamers instead of using their body was a sign of their ‘lack of commitment.’

India lost eight wickets in a session and a half in the Reserve Day of the WTC final and was bowled out for 170 in their second innings, which took the draw almost out of the equation as New Zealand needed only 139 runs in the remaining 53 overs to win the match.

“I think India played with fewer batsmen — which I highlighted before the ICC World Test Championship final. I feel there was a need for one more batsman in the team. We do not have quality fast-bowling all-arounder — which New Zealand possesses — and it is hard to find one.

“Now, If we talk from a proper cricketing point of view — what went wrong for India? I think the first innings went great, but Team India’s batting in the second inning was disappointing,” said Irfan Pathan on Star Sports’ show ‘Follow The Blues’.

Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)

“The ball wasn’t swinging as much in the second innings, and Indian batsmen could have batted more responsibly. I am aware of Rishabh Pant’s capabilities as a batsman and how he can hit balls very well, but that does not mean you hit a fast bowler outside — a sense of responsibility was required.”

“Indian batters were using a lot of pull shots on bouncers; instead of using their body and this showed a lack of commitment. These questions are tough, but I hope Indian batsmen have the strength to give their answers in the future.

“And now we are back on the same topic — Kiwi batsmen were able to make 140 runs with the loss of two wickets, but our Indian team lost eight wickets building the same score,” he added.

Rishabh Pant was India’s highest scorer with 41 in the second innings but his approach of continuously charging the seamers left Irfan Pathan unimpressed. New Zealand chased down the target with eight wickets in the bank as two of their most experienced players captain Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor stitched an unbroken 96-run stand for the third wicket.

Irfan Pathan: India Didn’t Get Enough Match Practice As Bowlers Were Tired And Should’ve Opted For More Bouncers

While the batters struggled against a potent New Zealand pace attack, the Indian bowlers couldn’t threaten the opposition. Mohammed Shami was the only effective bowler who returned with 4 wickets under his belt while Ishant Sharma managed to pick three wickets in the first innings. Jasprit Bumrah returned wickless and may face the axe in the upcoming 5 match Test series against hosts England.

Talking about how the Indian bowling attack lacked match practice heading into the WTC final, Irfan Pathan said: “By the time we (Team India) started fielding for the second session, our bowlers were already tired. This happened because India didn’t get enough match practice. When a team gets less match practice, they don’t have the kind of match fitness required for a particular game.”

Irfan Pathan claimed a hat-trick against Pakistan in Karachi in 2006(ICC/Twitter)
Irfan Pathan claimed a hat-trick against Pakistan in Karachi in 2006(ICC/Twitter)

“I feel this will improve eventually. I think Indian bowlers should’ve opted for more bouncers — the way Neil Wagner did. And improvement is required in length because we witnessed a lot of cut shots and back-foot punches from Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor.”

A complete effort on the Reserve Day saw New Zealand edging India in a final which had its ebbs and flows in the first innings. The Kiwis made full use of the slender 32-run first-innings lead and the Kane Williamson-led side bundled out India cheaply for 170 in the second innings to get a target of just 139 which was achieved quite comfortably in the end.

The architects of New Zealand’s victory were Kane Williamson(49 and 52*), Kyle Jamieson (5/31 in the 1st innings), and Tim Southee (4/48 in the 2nd innings). New Zealand was so disciplined with the ball throughout the match that they didn’t let an Indian batsman score a fifty in the entire Test.

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