Former India batsman VVS Laxman has heaped praise on New Zealand stating their decision to play Tom Latham at No. 5 a ‘masterstroke’ as his unbeaten 103 helped the side to a comfortable victory. The once middle order specialist hailed the Latham’s maturity and ability to play spinners efficiently.
However, the often-underestimated Kiwis side did their job excellently well, doing their homework diligently and sticking to their game plan. In his analysis of the game in The Times of India, VVS Laxman wrote, “The big question ahead of this tour was how well New Zealand's batsmen would play the Indian wrist spinners.
“In the event, the decision to drop Tom Latham to the middle-order turned out to be a masterstroke. Latham is the next best player of spin in the New Zealand team after Williamson, and he played an innings of great maturity, skill and displayed exemplary shot selection,” it read.
After India could only reach 280 following Virat Kohli’s brilliant 31 ODI ton, New Zealand chased the target in 49 overs with Latham making as brilliant 103 and Ross Taylor contributing 95. India, for once, never looked to be in the game.
Laxman shares a good camaraderie with Kane Williamson and Trent Boult from their time in the Sunrisers Hyderabad camp and is familiar with their extreme work ethic. He stated, “Having closely been associated with them at Sunrisers Hyderabad, I have seen what they both bring to the table, whether they are in the playing 11 or not.”
However, Laxman believes India will right the wrongs in the Pune ODI where the hosts have the last chance of getting back in the series and regaining the number one spot in the ODI rankings, which is currently held by South Africa.
Virat Kohli had lamented after the loss that India didn’t see more batsman chipping in for the first innings score and taking a leaf from it, Laxman also said that the top three batsmen will have a huge role to play if India
“I expect India to bounce back strongly in Pune, but there is a definite dependence on the top-three that they would like to address.”