The Indian batting capitulation was just as much due to their frontline batsmen’s inability to cope up with the Kiwis bowling as much as it was Trent Boults accurate and menacing spell which caused an upset of sorts at The Oval the other day.
A stark contrast on the other hand at Southhampton in the match between Australia and England where the home side were not in their usual marauding mood barring Jos Butler’s blitzkreig of an innings scoring 50 runs in a mere 30 deliveries and living up to his reputation as being one of the most destructive players in limited overs cricket.Leading the side in place of the injured Eion Morgan, Butler’s side did well to restrict the Aussies to below the 300 runs but not before the mercurial Steve Smith notched up his hundred to allow a rather inexperienced bowling side to have a go at a side which is tipped to lift the trophy this year. A sedate start by the openers set the tone for the bowlers to keep the in-form England batting under wraps only to be caught napping as Jos Butler pulverised their bowling with a magnificent display of stroke play. A narrow margin of 12 runs between the two sides made the difference and it was more a matter of trying out their respective bowling arsenal and Liam Plunkett did his cause no harm by scalping 4 of the Aussie wickets. Choosing between Joffra Archer, Mark Wood, Tom Curran and Plunkett would be quite a tricky situation for the selectors with Ben Stokes automatically coming in as a fast bowling all-rounder and one on whom all of England would be looking to discover all-rounder’s prowess especially after remaining out of the game due to disciplinary reasons.
The Indians under Virat Kohli could do well to work out on their dark areas which apparently looks to be the number four position at the moment as Dinesh Kartik who was given a shot at the gloves wasn’t able impress with the bat. With KL Rahul also missing out on the given opportunity, it would be too early to say if the batting potentials and resources available can be relied upon too much basing upon their IPL performances only.
It goes without saying that the Indians not only are one of the fittest sides in the circuit but possess a very varied and lethal bowling attack spearheaded by none other than their number one ranked bowler Jasprit Bumrah. Bumrah is one of the few bowlers in world cricket today whose opening spells have just as much of a telling effect as his death overs and that gives Virat Kohli plenty of options to juggle around with especially having someone like Hardik Pandya as a genuine fast bowling all-rounder batting down the order.
If the wickets during the friendly matches are anything to go by then an even contest between bat and ball seems more likely in the ICC World Cup 2019.
The writer is a former opening batsman of Bangladesh National Cricket Team and a cricket commentator.