Irfan Pathan has rued the absence of a quality fast-bowling allrounder in Indian Test team and reckons that played a role in their eight-wicket defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the final of ICC World Test Championship last month. Pathan joins the growing list of former cricketers and experts who have pointed out that India require a quality allrounder since there’s no clarity when Hardik Pandya will be back to bowling at full tilt.
“I think India played with fewer batsmen – which I highlighted before the ICC World Test Championship Final," Pathan said on Star Sports’ Follow The Blues. “I feel there was a need for one more batsman in the team. We do not have quality fast-bowling all-arounder - which New Zealand possesses – and it is hard to find one."
Listing out the various reasons, Pathan also pointed out the disappointing show from the India batters in the second innings as they were bowled out for 170.
“Now, If we talk from a proper cricketing point of view – what went wrong for India? I think the first inning went great, but Team India’s batting in the second inning was disappointing. The ball wasn’t swinging as much in the second inning, and Indian batsmen could have batted more responsibly," said Pathan.
He continued, “I am aware of Rishabh Pant’s capabilities as a batsman and how he can hit balls very well, but that does not mean you hit a fast bowler outside – a sense of responsibility was required. Indian batters were using a lot of pull shots on bouncers; instead of using their body and this showed a lack of commitment."
Pathan, who represented India in 29 Tests, hopes the team management will be able to learn from the mistakes. “These questions are tough, but I hope Indian batsmen have the strength to give their answers in the future," the 36-year-old said.
He also thinks that the absence of a practice match also worked against Virat Kohli’s men as the bowlers got tired by the time New Zealand started their chase on the sixth day of the contest.
“By the time we (India) started fielding for the second session, our bowlers were already tired. This happened because India didn’t get enough match practice. When a team gets less match practice, they don’t have the kind of match fitness required for a particular game. I feel this will improve eventually," he said.
Pathan, who burst onto the scene as a swing bowler, reckons Indian bowlers should have bowled more bouncers as well. “I think Indian bowlers should’ve opted for more bouncers – the way Neil Wagner did. And improvement is required in length, because we witnessed a lot of cut shots and back-foot punches from Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor," he said.