Kane Williamson-led New Zealand defeated Virat Kohli’s India by eight wickets in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final in Southampton. Even before India suffered a loss, a former international cricketer remarked that India failed to nail their team selection. And as the rest is history, his observations did turn out to be quite accurate.
Former Pakistan pacer Aqib Javed, while speaking to Salman Butt on his YouTube channel, remarked that Kohli and Co. would have been better off had they played a seam-bowling all-rounder instead of a spin-bowling all-rounder in Ravindra Jadeja in the WTC final at the Rose Bowl. When Butt, a former Pakistan captain, asked whether the management was right in picking two spinners in the playing XI, Aqib said India missed a trick. Shardul Thakur was the lone fast-bowling all-rounder in India’s squad but he failed to make it to the final 15, let alone the XI.
“India would have had an extra advantage if they named a seam-bowling all-rounder in the playing XI instead of Ravindra Jadeja. But India and Pakistan have always had the ideology that the foreign batsmen do not play so well against the spinners. India could have picked Ashwin and a seam-bowling all-rounder instead of selecting both spinners.”
India, after cruising at 146-3 at one point in their first innings, were bundled out for just 217. Jadeja scored 15 off 53 balls before dismissed by Trent Boult. When it came to bowling, the all-rounder returned figures of 1/20 in 7.2 overs as India, courtesy of Mohammed Shami’s four-wicket haul, dismissed the Kiwis for 249.
Trailing by 32, the Indian side could only manage to post 170 in their second innings, thereby setting the Kiwis a target of 139. Tim Southee was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant was India’s highest scorer with 41 runs off 88 balls. Jadeja, in the second innings, could only score 16 off 49 deliveries and only bowled eight of the 45 overs in the second innings, going wicketless and conceding 25 runs.