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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Cricket Of Whitewashes—Now New Zealand ODI-Swamp India 3-0!

Photo: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

After India whitewashed New Zealand by 5-0 in the T20I Series now New Zealand whitewash back with a 3-0 triumph over India in the 3-match one-day international (ODI0 Series. In the third and final match today at Mount Maunganui New Zealand thrashed India by 5 wickets, despite a challenging target of 297 put by India. With NZ openers Guptill and Nicholls going-great-guns the Kiwis overtook the target with relative ease. In the first match the hosts assailed India’s target of 347, the stiffest and highest of the series, with quite a few balls to spare exposing the visitors’ bowling woes. Some Indian commentators have once again played with the word ‘complacency’ saying that perhaps the Indians were a bit complacent after the T20 whitewash! Well, over the decades this writer has been utterly unable to understand how a professional team affords to be complacent against another professional team in very competitive international matches. The hyped products of experimentation like the Sainies or the Thakurs hardly able to do anything to justify the exclusion of Test pacers. We’d also like to know what has happened to Khaleel Ahmed and others who were experimented relentlessly in a two-year countdown to the ICC World Cup-2019.

Of course, you can say Team India is depleted with both the openers—Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma—out due to injury. Of course! But if you’ve been experimenting consistently over the years where are your performers then? This proves again that the selectors have been just blindly trying to help the IPL youngsters without getting into the ‘performance’ track. The set No.4 batsman Ambati Rayadu was banished into oblivion before the World Cup and thus artificially creating the No.4 syndrome. Moreover, why are Test-tested batsmen like Ajinkya Rahane and some of the bowlers are permanently dropped for the shorter formats? Again, if we look closely into the ODI series it is more of bowlers’ failure than batsmen’. I still stick to my view that excellent Test performers can always excel in any format of the game. As for New Zealand, they have set in order the inexplicable batting blues displayed in the T20 series.

Now with the two-match Test Series between Indian and New Zealand coming up, the same ‘dropped’ veterans will be inducted into the team, and the selectors would want them to perform instantly while depriving them of good exposure in the shorter formats. If you’re doing experiment which you’ll continue doing since the T20 World Cup-2020 is coming up, then why restrict it only to IPL ‘talents’, why not open it up to veterans too? Anyway, now over to Test cricket! Should we expect the hat-trick of whitewashes? Nothing wrong in having great expectations!

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