INDIA: In a post-match analysis following India’s defeat to Australia in the World Test Championship (WTC) final, renowned batting great Sunil Gavaskar didn’t hold back his criticism of Virat Kohli’s shot selection. India’s batting collapsed on the game’s last day after Kohli, who could only add five runs to his 44-run overnight total, was dismissed by an outside off delivery from Scott Boland.
Gavaskar expressed his disappointment with Kohli’s shot, specifically his decision to play a cover drive on a delivery outside the off stump. Speaking on a sports channel, Gavaskar described the shot as “pretty ordinary” and questioned why Kohli opted for such a risky stroke when he had been leaving similar deliveries until that point.
The former Indian captain speculated that Kohli’s desire to reach his half-century, needing just one more run, might have influenced his shot selection. Gavaskar also pointed out that other players, such as Jadeja and Rahane, had succumbed to similar mistakes when nearing their personal milestones.
“It happened to Jadeja also. He played a delivery he shouldn’t have when he was on 48. Happened to Ajinkya Rahane, who was on 46. He hadn’t played that shot all this while. Suddenly, why do you play that shot? Because you are aware of that landmark,” Gavaskar said.
The cricket legend went on to criticize Kohli’s decision-making, calling the shot a “bad” one and challenging Kohli to explain his choice. Gavaskar also highlighted the contradiction between Kohli’s frequent emphasis on the importance of playing long innings to secure victories and his decision to play a ball so far outside the off stump.
India’s batting lineup crumbled under the pressure of Australia’s imposing target of 444 runs, losing seven wickets in the extended morning session at The Oval. Ajinkya Rahane, who had been staging a resilient partnership with Shardul Thakur, also departed due to a needless shot similar to Kohli’s dismissal. Rahane ended his innings with a score of 46(108).
Thakur, unfortunately, fell for a five-ball duck in the subsequent over, and Umesh Yadav and KS Bharat managed to survive for a few more overs before Yadav was dismissed after contributing just 1 run.
With an inevitable defeat looming, Mohammad Shami provided a brief moment of entertainment for the crowd with two consecutive boundaries. However, Mohammed Siraj’s attempt at a reverse sweep resulted in a catch straight into the hands of Boland.
Gavaskar’s remarks throughout the analysis showcased his disappointment and frustration at the shot selections made by key players in such a crucial match as the WTC final.
As India fell short in their pursuit of the target set by Australia, the legendary batsman’s comments have sparked discussions about the importance of shot selection and maintaining focus, particularly when reaching personal milestones during critical moments of a match.
While the defeat is undoubtedly a setback for Team India, it also provides an opportunity for introspection and improvement as they aim to bounce back in future matches and tournaments.