Written by VP
It was a true test between two temperaments -a mercurial leader on one side and a tranquil one on the other. So, when New Zealand captain Kane Williamson lifted the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) trophy – Test Mace – in Southampton, United Kingdom, serenity outshone aggression. Many an Indian heart was shattered, while Kiwis rejoiced. And why not, it was the first time that they had written their name on a championship trophy.
Previously, they had made it to the final step many a time and then choked under pressure. In the 50-overs World Cup in 2019, destiny colluded with England to snatch a victory away from the Black Caps. But in that tournament too, the Kiwis had defeated the Indians in the semi-finals. They were also comprehensively beaten in the test series hosted by New Zealand in their own backyard. So, is there a trend we are witnessing?
The Indians looked jaded and terribly short of match practice. The bowlers seemed woefully out of ideas to begin with and then unwilling to learn from their Kiwi counterparts, who swung the ball at will.
Isn’t a match of this enormity to be played after proper preparations, not just net practice? Was the Board of Control for Cricket in India overconfident or complacent? Are there some players who have run their course and must make way for fresh blood? A new set of hands is always welcome; they will only gain experience if provided the right opportunities at the right time. Has the time arrived?
Coming back to the temperament issue – was the cool Kane better than the vivacious Virat? At least in this match, that seemed to be the case. Virat’s fervour on the cricket pitch is admirable and he has taken the team far, as also his own career. But there are days when you need to be still like the deep sea. Think and go with the flow. Chastise when needed, celebrate with calm composure. Kane smiles all the time, yet he is fiercely competitive. Is there a lesson somewhere?
A five-match test series is lined up with England in August-September. India needs to find answers and that too soon. Otherwise, the writing seems to be partially written on the wall.
(From the editor’s desk, e-mail me at email@example.com)