It is the end of one more one day series and Indian team is still searching for a victory since last 2 months. It will be an understatement to say that this Indian team has been dominated by Kiwis, but they have been annihilated by the relentless Kiwi attack. The Indian team that arrived on the Kiwi shores was ranked No.1 in ODI’s and will now return dejected having lost that ranking. They are probably experiencing the longest losing streak in recent times. New Zealand found different match winning players in each game who scripted the victorious moment for their team and there by continued the miseries of the touring party. Indian team did not find any match winning players and in fact lost the magical impact its batting once had.
It is hypothetical to blame any one individual or department for India’s failure as it was a “collective” failure. The new ODI rules have been harsher on the bowlers, but it is a constant challenge in any profession that you survive by learning to adapt. One cannot resist asking questions regarding the role and ability of Indian support staff in helping the bowlers in this aspect. It can be argued that coaching staff cannot take wickets or score runs but their primary and only responsibility is to guide the players and more so, in crisis. The coaching staff does not seem to have the intelligence that is deem needed for this team! Spinners which include Ashwin, the most experienced bowler in Indian lineup is limited to do a containment job on the seeming wickets. This limitation has allowed the Kiwi batsman to score freely in the middle overs; success of Ross Taylor, Guptill, and Kane Williamson proves that. This also puts back the pressure on the fast bowlers, who were bleeding runs during these situations and let batsman like Corey Anderson, Ronchi to score disdainfully in the slog overs.
Indian batsmen did not demonstrate the dominance everyone expected them to and were completely beaten and bowed to the skill & accuracy of the Kiwi bowlers. Blitz of Kohli, unfearful hitting of Dhoni and batting revival of Jadeja were the only saving grace for Indian batting. Openers struggled to come to terms with the swing and bounce of the pitch, they were denied early charge and finally succumb to the run rate pressure. Middle order with Rahane/Raina/Rayudu did not display any tenacity and failed miserably in finding gaps / rotating strike. They did themselves a great disservice by losing precious opportunities to perform and find a long term spot in the team. Importantly, Raina’s weakness against short delivery has become well documented in all team’s bowling manuals and he is falling prey to it easily. Mishra, Binny and Pandey should feel hard done, as they were denied chances throughout the series despite the poor showing of their peers.
New Zealand on the contrary has found a “gold mine” in this series. They have not only found a winning combination but also gained much needed confidence/self belief that was eluding them. They now have a blue print to constantly repeat this success. Every debutant they churned out in this series has taken them a mile forward. Their objective to execute the game plan to perfection has paid them rich dividends. They added an unseen 12th man in the field with their superior fielding effort. Their batting was much disciplined; seizing the early charge, sublime & accumulating in middle overs and ruthless in slog overs. Also, they might believe that they have worked out Kohli’s batting and will explore that weakness aggressively in the test series. Rest of the world will keenly observe this!!
This series has had contrasting results to both teams. Black Caps, are now needed to prove that this win is not a mere fluke but a result of sustained dominance in all aspects of the game. India, in hindsight should consider this as a blessing in disguise that it happened 12 months before World Cup, but not during WC. One year seems to be short span for preparing for a major tournament but they can only help themselves by eliminating inefficiencies and looking for right replacements .They have adequate amount of cricket to be played before WC to test different players and strategies.