BY: PRATIK MISHRA
A day after India secured qualification for the World Test Championship (WTC) final, Indian team’s head coach Ravi Shastri rightly lashed at the International Cricket Council on for changing the qualification criteria of the World Test Championship final midway during the cycle. Though ICC’s all tactics failed and with 3-1 thrashing to England, Team India to marched towards London for 19th June final. England's defeat in the forth & final Test was also curtains for Australia, which needed its Ashes rival to win in order to pip India to the WTC final.
New Zealand will be tough in Final
The innings and 25-run win, in three days, in the fourth Test in Ahmedabad has given India a 3-1 series win and a place in the inaugural World Test Championship final, to be played at Lord's. Virat Kohli's men will face New Zealand, which has already made the cut. This series win also took India to the top of the WTC points table and the ICC Test rankings. India finished the league phase with 520 points, which includes 12 wins, four loses and one draw. New Zealand finished second spot with 420 points, including seven wins and four loses. Australia finished third with 332 points ahead of England and Pakistan.
Shastri’s outburst against ICC
It was Ravi Shastri’s outburst which stunned cricket world. This was totally justified as role of International Cricket Council (ICC) was fully dubious in changing the criteria midway. India were sitting pretty at the top of the table with 360 points when the Covid-forced suspension in cricket prompted the world body to show excuse and make the matches not played as null and void, making percentage of points contested the basis of qualification instead of the actual points won.
System was changed Halfway
Following the new system, India went down the table with an away series in Australia, followed by a home rubber against England on their schedule. Though Shastri revelled in the resilience shown by his team in making it to the WTC final at Lord’s against New Zealand, he maintained that rules should not be changed midstream. Shastri was furious “You can’t change the rules halfway by twisting the situation.” In the month of October-November when every one is sitting at home due to Corona suddenly you want game rules is not fair at all.” Imagine when you have got more points than any other team in the world and suddenly, a week later without playing cricket some rule comes, that they are going on percentage (point) system (PCT).
Corona can’t be ICC’s excuse
Because of countries not wanting to travel doesn’t mean earlier pain should go in drain. How ICC can order that if you (India) wants to qualify then go to Australia and you have to beat them there. This was totally unfair. How many teams have gone to Australia with a guarantee that they will win there? If India would have not beaten Australia then to qualify for the final it was expected that they should win against England by 4-0. One after other hurdles were put up against India.
Kohli has Virat task ahead
Virat Kohli and Co did more than what was expected and entered the final as table-toppers. Naturally they are quite relieved to touch the destination summit. The last two years India played very tough and truelly we deserved to be in that final. Kohli tried to play down the team’s WTC aspirations but no one can deny that it was at the back of their minds, they took it as a badge of honour. They know it very well that winning the WTC would be “equal to” winning the World Cup. India’s win against Australia on their home turf with a severely depleted squad, players like Washington Sundar and T Natarajan is example of their true grit. Then great revival after losing the first Test against England was sign of never to give up. Ravi was correct in reasoning that team bonded well inside the bio-bubble.