Monday, February 3, 2014

When Kiwi's Soared Above India

My initial prediction of 4-1 to New Zealand was met mostly with polite ridicule. Against the world number one ranked team? The World Cup and Champions Trophy holders no less? Blasphemous.

Courtesy of Sir Jadeja I narrowly missed out, 4-0 however at least landed in the right ball park!

But why would anybody have backed New Zealand?

The Hesson-McCullum partnership is really onto something, despite it starting off with theTaylorgate scandal. Since then Taylor is back and poking his tongue out more than ever and that's not all, New Zealand have constructed a team based on consistent selections, depth in all positions, and a splash of genuine pace along with the usual outstanding fielding and sportsmanship.

© Getty

In the bad old days they only had fielding and sportsmanship, but now this team is a threat in all three formats. With the World Cup around the corner and that too at home, everybody should be on their guard against this dark horse of cricket that might just steal the show.

So what's wrong with the Indians?

India was not terrible unlike the 2002 tour. They were not terrible at all, rather they were the textbook definition of average.

Two guys showed up:

  • Superstar Virat continuing his seemingly never-ending purple patch, arrogantly dismissing cricket balls from his presence while independent of his world GPS co-ordinates.
  • Captain Cool ensured his average was as cool as ever despite required run rates blowing up faster than the population of Bangalore.

The rest mostly indulged in a performance of collective nothingness:

  • Rohit Sharma! Fresh from an ODI double century! Dealing in binary scoring shots with the occasional slog for 6.  Average 29.00, strike rate 71.78
  • Shikadhawan! Man of the Champions Trophy! Seems to have left his mojo somewhere in England. Average 20.25, strike rate 66.94
  • Project Raina! Ready to cement the #4 position! Oh wait they gave up on that bright idea last tour... Average 28.00
  • Ajinkya Rahane! .... who? Average 10.20, strike rate 58.62

Add to the recipe some expensive, listless bowling and you have one very bland cake topped with some amazing Kohli flavoured icing. It says a lot when one Kiwi on debut took more wickets in one match than every Indian bowler (bar one) in the entire series.

Where are Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan? India would not have won the World Cup without them. Dinesh Karthik? Cheteshwar Pujara? Superior players forced to make way for Delhi and Chennai Super Kings buddies.

This is not the best Indian team. This is a collection of flat deck supermen. They can hammer down 400 at will provided everything is tailor made for them, but can be pretty clueless otherwise.  

What Will Happen Now?

When the dust settles, this series will be talked about as little as possible in India and a nice friendly home series will be set up to make up for lost batting averages.

There are two test matches coming up, and New Zealand are proving they are no slouches there either in recent times. India are still stronger on paper.

Will India redeem themselves or go home without a single victory?

Contributed by : Varun Prasad
Varun’s blog : The Cricket Musings

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