Men's ODI WC: Lengthy Tail Came Back To Haunt India, Says Nasser Hussain
ODI World Cup: Former England captain Nasser Hussain believes India's lengthy tail came back to haunt them in the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup final against Australia, forcing Virat Kohli and KL Rahul to be at the crease for a
India were the pre-tournament favourites and won ten straight matches in the competition while playing in front of a passionate home crowd and in familiar conditions. But their invincible run came to an end when they lost to Australia by six wickets in Sunday’s final at Ahmedabad.
Kohli (54) shared a 67-run partnership with Rahul (66), but never got the acceleration, due to a combination of Australia’s tight bowling and fielding, as well as of the tail starting from number eight, mainly due to Hardik Pandya’s absence after being ruled out by a left ankle injury.
“That lengthy tail came back to haunt India on Sunday because, with Shami at eight, the likes of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul had to chew up deliveries and knock it around again because they knew if they got out cheaply the tail would be putting on their pads,” wrote Hussain in his column for Daily Mail.
He also felt that India may have erred in selecting the pitch, if they had a hand in it. Ahead of the final, head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma along with other team members were taking rounds of the pitch for the clash, which was very dry in the afternoon and became good to bat on in the evening due to dew factor.
"If India had a say in the type of pitch prepared for this final then they made an error. They think they are backing their spinners by having a dry surface but it brings the opposition into it and they are actually at their most dangerous when they play on a good surface that just turns a little bit."
"Just look at the semi-final against New Zealand in Mumbai. It was a belter and their batsmen thrived on it while making 397 while their attack was good enough to give them victory by 70 runs. Then they had to adjust to a different surface here."
Hussain also feels Australia skipper Pat Cummins stood vindicated for making a bold call to bowl first, contrary to the notion of runs of the board being better in a title clash. “The Australian captain was absolutely right because he correctly calculated that this dry Ahmedabad pitch would become better for batting later on in the evening as the dew came down and the ball skidded on.”
"Then after getting it right at the toss the tone was set by Australia’s outstanding fielding and their bowling when a dry pitch made the ball abrasive and brought reverse swing for Mitchell Starc along with effective slower ball bouncers from Cummins himself."
'It was one of those days when everything the captain touched turned to gold. Each time you looked down on the outfield Cummins had his fielding positions spot on, with the right people in the right places on every occasion."
"Remember, too, that Cummins was under immense pressure when Australia lost their first two games of this World Cup and people back home were criticising him. But he grew in confidence out of that adversity culminating in Sunday's outstanding victory," he concluded.