'Not many noticed the journey': Ex-spinner acknowledges India's struggle over past year, calls WTC final 'close'
Former India all-rounder S Sriram, who has been Australia's bowling coach for five years now, said it was a close game, while acknowledging India's rigorous toil over the last 12 months.
The World Test Championship (WTC) final between Virat Kohli's India and Kane Williamson-led New Zealand will be remembered for a long time to come. Not only because it was the first of its kind but also because the Black Caps managed to win the game with less than four days of play possible.
Almost a week later, the summit clash remains a topic of discussion with experts, cricketers, and pundits, who are analysing various aspects of the game. Joining the bandwagon is former India and Tamil Nadu cricketer, Sridharan Sriram. The former all-rounder, who has been Australia's bowling coach for five years now, said it was a close game, while acknowledging India's rigorous toil over the last 12 months.
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"It was a close Test match. I think New Zealand adapted to the conditions better. Having said that, New Zealand played two Tests in England prior to the WTC final. They were already well acclimatised. Not many may have noticed the journey that the Indian team has gone through in the last year or so," Sriram told CricketNext.
"From IPL 2020 in Dubai, they went straight to Australia to be in a bubble for three to four months; returned home for 5 days and went to the home series against England to be in a bubble for two months, then go straight into IPL 2021 bubble, and now after a 14-day quarantine in Mumbai, go to England for the WTC final and then the five-Test series in about six weeks."
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He added: "What the Indian team has gone through in the last 12 months is very tough. Even the Australian players, the way they went back from IPL, having to quarantine in Maldives and go to Australia and not to see the sunlight for the first 14 days is pretty tough. On the other hand, New Zealand were more fortunate because they did not have many Covid cases in their country. They have been free, playing outdoors, practicing, playing their domestic tournament, went to England and played two Test matches before the WTC final. Their preparation leading into the Test final was a lot more ideal. Having said that, that is not an excuse for India."
Meanwhile, Team India's next Test assignment is the five-match Test series against England, while the Shikhar Dhawan-led and Rahul Dravid-coached limited-overs Indian team will take on Sri Lanka in three ODIs and as many T20Is.