Former India batsman VVS Laxman believes India must confront the glaring issues which came to light during the 0-2 loss in the Test series against New Zealand, saying he was glad to see skipper Virat Kohli accepting the defeat instead of offering excuses. A blatant Kohli opened up on India’s loss, taking its responsibility and accepting that his unit was outperformed by a better team, although India don’t believe New Zealand is their bogey team. Also Read - Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah Retain BCCI A+ Annual Contracts; Hardik Pandya Moves to Grade A, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Drops to B
India’s next Test series is a long time away and Laxman has warned the side to address the batting of they are to succeed in Australia during the year end. Also Read - "Philosophy of Never Giving Up": John Cena on Correlation Between Him And Virat Kohli
“It was refreshing to hear Virat Kohli offer no excuses for the 2-0 loss in New Zealand and stress on acceptance of the outcome, but I hope India do address the issues that hurt them badly in probably one of their worst overseas outings of late,” Laxman wrote in his column for Times of India. “The next Test series isn’t until December, so the temptation to write this off as a one-off could be overwhelming. But if India wants to avoid a repeat of this display in Australia later in the year, they can’t afford to gloss over what transpired in New Zealand.” Also Read - IPL 2021: During Timeout, Virat Kohli Told us His Gut Feel is to Bowl Shahbaz Ahmed - Simon Katich
Of all aspects, batting remained India’s biggest letdown with the team crossing 200 just once in four innings. Alarmingly, the batting collapsed in all the four innings with the Indian batsmen struggling to cope the swing. Laxman said that although conditions weren’t easy to bat, there should have been better application shown by India’s batsmen.
“I am sure the batting group would be hurting, especially, since they take a lot of pride in preparation but were caught napping by New Zealand’s game-plans for two Test matches in a row.” Laxman said. “I agree the conditions were tricky and challenging, but that’s no reason why there shouldn’t have been a greater application from the batsmen. New Zealand’s plans were straightforward enough – to get swing with the new ball and make use of the lateral movement and, should that fail to produce wickets, to resort to the liberal use of the short ball.
“The other aspect that stood out was a repetition of mistakes from the same batsmen. Virat was trapped leg before to the ball coming in twice in the second Test, Mayank Agarwal fell in similar fashion in both innings in Christchurch to Trent Boult’s inswingers, Prithvi Shaw was cramped up and dismissed fending balls following him in the second innings of both Tests. Test cricket is an unforgiving cauldron where there is no room for tentativeness. India’s technical and mental frailties were badly exposed by a New Zealand side that looked out for the count during the T20s, but that knows how to win at home better than most other teams.”
Laxman explained how Ajinkya Rahane’s struggle in the second innings of the Christchurch best highlighted India’s find in tough grappling with New Zealand’s bowlers. Rahane found himself battling against the likes of Neil Wager and Co, often ending up dazed against the bouncers. Losing patience, Rahane played an off shot to get out for a painstaking 43-ball 9.
“Ajinkya Rahane’s tortured stint in the second innings in Christchurch best illustrated India’s confusion. For an experienced and accomplished batsman who has scored runs all around the world, Rahane seemed all at sea against Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson’s short-ball barrage, and tried to hit his way out of trouble. On that surface, it was a method never designed to succeed,” he said.