Former England skipper Alastair Cook pointed out that the Indian batsmen have a certain weakness against the swinging and seaming ball, and opined that England will fancy their chances on spicy wickets. Cook further opined that India erred in the WTC final by picking two spinners.
Despite earning the reputation of being the most all-rounded, well-balanced side in Test cricket, the Virat Kohli-led Indian side has struggled to conquer bowling friendly conditions. In 2018, team India lost 1-2 and 1-4 away to South Africa and England respectively, and last year, they were whitewashed by the Kiwis, who made the Indian batters dance to their tunes in conditions skewed in favour of fast bowlers. The Indian batsmen’s ineptness against the moving ball once again came to the fore a fortnight ago, when they were decimated by the Kiwis in the World Test Championship Final in Southampton.
It’s been over a decade since India won a series in bowling-friendly SENA countries - New Zealand, England and South Africa - and hence Alastair Cook is of the opinion that England would fancy their chances against India come August, should the wickets be spicy. Cook also noted that the Indian batsmen have a clear weakness against the swinging and seaming ball.
"India are a great side. England will always fancy their chances more if that ball moves. If the conditions are like that in the month of August with moisture around, England will fancy bowling to that Indian side,” Cook said on BBC Test Match Special Podcast episode, reported TOI.
"Yes, they are a world-class batting unit. But their big weakness is the ball that moves, if it nips. You always fancy your chances against them.”
India were not just out-batted but also out-bowled by New Zealand in the WTC Final, and Cook reckoned that Kohli & Co. got a ‘bit ahead of themselves’ by picking two spinners. India opted for both Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, and Cook insisted that it was not the wisest of moves, given the conditions were conducive to seam bowling.
“They (India) got a bit confident in picking that side three days out before (the game) and playing two spinners where they pretty much knew it was going to rain for a lot of that game. So a lot of seam bowling was bowled.
"Even though their spinners are world-class, they got a little bit ahead of themselves there," Cook said.
Cook, however, reckoned that India, in WTC Final, were hard-done-by owing to the fact that they got no prior match practice. In comparison to the Kiwis, who played two Tests vs England, India played just an intra-squad warm-up match, and Cook insisted that lack of match practice handicapped India in the one-off final.
"I did say New Zealand were going to win that game purely down to the fact that they were match-hardened. Those two Test matches against England were such perfect preparation," Cook said.
"Intra-squad games, as good as your intention might be, haven't got the same intensity. First hour might be really competitive but everything goes less and less and less. India were hard done by that way.”