Ajit Agarkar gives England, Australia series examples to highlight India's 'two biggest strengths' ahead of WTC final
- Ahead of the India vs New Zealand WTC final, Ajit Agarkar was asked about India’s strengths in the past two years and the right-arm seamer gave an elaborate answer.
With just 8 days to go for the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and New Zealand, the anticipation and excitement are rising with each passing moment. Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar is no stranger to big games and he knows exactly how the cricketers must be feeling before the summit clash. Ahead of the WTC final, Agarkar was asked about India’s strengths in the past two years and the right-arm seamer gave an elaborate answer.
Choosing his words carefully, Agarkar said resilience and belief in their abilities have been two of the biggest strengths of Team India in the past two years.
“I think a couple of things, resilience or just belief in your ability or in your own team,” Agarkar said on Star Sports show Game Plan.
Explaining his point, Agarkar, who represented India in 26 Tests, 191 ODIs and 4 T20Is, gave the examples of the last two series that India won – in Australia and against England at home – to finish on top of the WTC points table.
“Look at the England series at home, we expected India to win. Yes, the conditions suit their (India) wicket or their spin bowling, but they lost the first Test comprehensively. They came back and beat England really well in the next three Tests,” Agarkar added.
After losing the first Test, India bounced back strongly to win the next three Tests and take the series 3-1.
In Australia, Kohli’s side had lost the day-night Test comprehensively after being bowled out for the lowest ever total – 36. That was not all, their captain Virat Kohli had to fly back home because of personal reasons and India kept on losing key players due to injuries. However, against all odds, India managed to win the Melbourne and Brisbane Tests and create history by beating Australia 2-1.
Agarkar said the Australia tour gave India players like Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan and Mohammed Siraj.
“Look at Australia (series), they (India) lost that first Test, bowled out at what 36 – losing the host of your first team players, whether it's your best batsman in the team, Virat Kohli, your best bowler in the team, Mohammad Shami, those sort of losses. By the end of the series, you had a Shardul Thakur, T Natarajan, Mohammad Siraj bowling for you, against a full-strength Australian team and you still managed to find a way to win in those situations. So, the depth in that team – even though there was not a lot of experience – the guys that came in had enough belief that they could turn up. That’s been India’s strength,” Agarkar said.
“There have been some tricky situations. Apart from those two Tests in New Zealand, in general, if you look at India’s records in recent times, they’ve always competed, if not won and found ways to win with different players, which has been their strength,” he added.