Batting will determine India’s fate in World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand next month, former India captain Kapil Dev has said. The 1983 World Cup-winning captain added that India will have to take the game session by session since the weather in England changes within minutes.
“India look a superior batting side. How they tackle the conditions is important. To me, India’s batting will hold the key. The bowlers provide a solid back-up to India’s cricket campaigns these days but the quality of batsmen will stand out in the final,” Dev said.
“Test cricket is about sessions. Each can be intriguing because of the weather factor. Within minutes, it changes from sunny to cloudy. So you have to be tactically good and technically sound when you play in England,” he said in an interview to Mid-Day newspaper.
The 62-year-old warned Kohli against getting over-aggressive in England and felt that wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has improved from the time he came into the side but still needs to be cautious in England.
“I expect him (Kohli) to excel. Can you really shackle him? He is a natural when it comes to adapting but I would caution him to not be over-aggressive. He will have to measure it session by session. He’ll be better off waiting for his moments of dominance. He will get his runs with a bit of patience,” said Dev.
“Trying too hard and too early doesn’t work in England where you need to watch the movement of the ball. If you play seam and swing well, show patience, you will succeed in England.”
He also said that Pant needs to spend time in the middle and get used to conditions before going for his shots.
“He looks a very mature cricketer now from the time he came into the side. He seems to have far more time to play his shots and obviously his range of strokes is awesome. But England will be challenging. He must spend more time in the middle and not just look to hit every ball. We used to say the same about Rohit Sharma, who had so many shots, but would step out and get out so many times,” said Dev.
Dev had successful trips to England as captain. Apart from leading India to World Cup win in 1983 [by winning the final against West Indies at Lord’s], he also led the side to a 2-0 series win in 1986 that saw India win Tests at Lord’s and Leeds.
He said Lord’s should have been picked as venue for the WTC final and felt that there should have been more than one final.
“I would have preferred more than just one match to decide such an important title… Maybe, Lord’s would have been a better venue than Rose Bowl because the ground has great history. Even Manchester [Old Trafford] would have been a good choice but there is something about celebrating a win at Lord’s.”