Home > Features >

India tour of New Zealand 2014: Selectors may have to take tough calls after India’s poor show

Brendon McCullum smashed first triply ton by a New Zealand batsman, against India at Wellington © Getty Images
Brendon McCullum smashed first triple ton by a New Zealand batsman, against India at Wellington © Getty Images

By Ajit Agarkar

When you do a post-mortem, you tend to look at all aspects of the game: if your bowling was good enough to take 20 wickets, if your batting was consistent enough or were the right strategies adopted? I am sure these are some of the things the selectors will be looking at.

On Tuesday, Virat Kohli simply raised his bat and helmet after getting to three figures. There was no high-energy celebration this time. For starters, it was a typical Kohli knock — oozing with intent and laced with boundaries. Secondly, it helped India draw a Test match they were expected to win when play began on Day Three and Day Four. And finally, like many a Kohli special, it was a back-to-the-wall effort.

Walking in at 10/2, Kohli was lucky umpire Steve Davis didn’t rule him out early in the innings but, as a batsman, you have to make use of the good fortune that comes your way. The right-hander put that ‘caught behind’ episode behind him and took fresh guard. He added 44 runs with Cheteshwar Pujara (who fell for 17) and an undefeated 112 with Rohit Sharma (31 not out) as India finished with 166/3 in 52 overs. That’s when the teams decided to call it a day. New Zealand had, of course, set India an improbable 435-run target.

The day, Test match and series, which the hosts took 1-0, belonged to Brendon McCullum who became the first New Zealander to get to the revered mark of 300 in Test cricket. Mind you, the Kiwis have been playing the longest format of the game for 84 years. I vividly remember Martin Crowe getting out for 299 in the early 1990s. I am glad someone I have played with — and a great guy, I must add — broke that jinx and got to the magical number. In the process, McCullum also became just the third man after Sir Donald Bradman and Wally Hammond in the 1930s to score double and triple tons in consecutive Tests. That is some club.

McCullum deserves a lot of praise for the way he batted and, more importantly, led a young and largely ‘superstar-less’ — yet improving — side against India. India had their chances in the ODI series as well as the first Test, but McCullum outsmarted MS Dhoni every now and then. The only time he came second best was at the toss. Interestingly, he lost them all!

McCullum staged a recovery act like no other in the second Test. India were odds-on favourites to win in Wellington and, thereby, draw the series. Instead, McCullum played a one-for-the-ages knock to rescue his side from 94/5 in the second innings. Not only did the Kiwis erase the 246-run deficit, they ended up setting India a mammoth target. McCullum was at the centre of it all.

So India have now gone two tours without a single victory. Our record in overseas Tests has taken a further beating. The record books tell me that it’s been 32 months since Dhoni & Co. won a five-day contest on foreign soil. Since June 2011, when India won a three-Test series in the West Indies by a 1-0 margin, we have gone 12 overseas Tests without a win. We lost 4-0 in England, 4-0 in Australia, 1-0 in South Africa and now 1-0 in New Zealand. Mind you, Dhoni has played the last couple of tours with a really inexperienced team. Even so as players you want your overseas record to get better and inexperience or not, I’m sure the players will be very disappointed with the results. More so because there were in a position of strength in some of those games.

When you do a post-mortem, you tend to look at all aspects of the game: if your bowling was good enough to take 20 wickets, if your batting was consistent enough or were the right strategies adopted? I am sure these are some of the things the selectors will be looking at. They may have to take some tough calls and even though it is true that this is a rebuilding phase, you still want to show improvement with each day, especially when you play away from home.

Fortunately, India’s next Test assignment is in July (in England). In other words, the selectors have some time on their hands. And hopefully, the decisions they make will help Indian cricket go forward.

(Ajit Agarkar represented India in over 200 matches and took 349 wickets. The above column first appeared in DNA from where its reproduced with permission)

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Centurion

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014 (16:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 14, 2014  at Sharjah

Pakistan won by 147 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 13, 2014  at Pallekele

Sri Lanka won by 90 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 12, 2014  at Sharjah

New Zealand won by 4 wkts

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Josh Hazlewood looks back at his 5-wicket haul

India vs Australia 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 2: India’s familiar collapse, Umesh Yadav’s heroics and other highlights

South Africa vs West Indies,1st Test, Day 2 at Centurion: South Africa declare at 552 for 5

Australia 221/4 at stumps against India on Day 2 of 2nd Test at Brisbane

Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane guide India to 311/4 against Australia on Day 1 of 1st Test at Brisbane

Australia India Interviews Ishant Sharma Moments in history Ravichandran Ashwin South Africa

Alastair Cook should be replaced as England skipper, believes Nasser Hussain

Sachin Tendulkar admires swimmer Masudur Rahman Baidya

Stiaan van Zyl becomes first South African batsman to score Test century on debut at home

South Africa vs West Indies 1st Test, at Centurion: Rain forces early end to Day 2

Sachin Tendulkar satisfied with India’s progress in other sports

India vs Australia 2nd Test at Brisbane: Steven Smith holds key for Australia

Josh Hazlewood’s relentless accuracy and subtle movement against India in 2nd Test at Brisbane augurs well for Australia

South Africa vs West Indies 2014, 1st Test at Centurion: Hashim Amla’s double-century and other statistics

India vs Australia 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 2: India’s familiar collapse, Umesh Yadav’s heroics and other highlights

Keki Tarapore – India’s manager on the successful West Indies tour of 1971

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

653 Posts | 10 Fans

India vs Australia: Murali Vijay's 144, Video highlights

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here