• Saturday, July 20, 2024


India insist ‘no panic’ ahead of must-win New Zealand Test

Indian cricket team coach Ravi Shastri (MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

By: Sarwar Alam

India said there was no need to panic on Friday ahead of the second Test against New Zealand, insisting this week’s 10-wicket defeat had helped them open a “closed mindset”.

New Zealand quick Trent Boult indicated the odds are stacked against India at Hagley Park in Christchurch, rating it as better for the bowlers than Wellington’s Basin Reserve, the venue for the first Test.

But India coach Ravi Shastri said their heavy defeat, which ended an unbeaten streak stretching back more than a year, was an important learning experience for his team.

“A shake-up like that is good because it opens your mindset,” Shastri said on Friday, a day before the second and final Test.

“When you’re on the road winning all the time, you’ve not tasted defeat, you can have a closed mindset,” he added.

“Once you’ve seen what has happened there are opportunities to learn. You know what strategies New Zealand mentally are employing and you are prepared.

“We’ve had a great run in the Test arena. We’ve played eight and won seven and so one loss there’s absolutely no need to panic.”

In six Tests at Hagley Oval, New Zealand are unbeaten against South Asian sides having won against Sri Lanka (twice), Pakistan and Bangladesh, while they have lost once to Australia and drawn with England.

On the eve of the latest Test the pitch was again emerald green with a cloud cover that was forecast to stay around for a few days.

“Its pretty exciting,” Boult said after surveying the wicket.

“I wouldn’t say the confidence is through the roof but we’re very excited about continuing where we left off.

“I like the overheads that present down here in terms of the cloud cover and the swing that’s on offer. From my point of view I hope it stays that way and we get it to move around a bit.”

The New Zealand attack has been reinforced by the return of short-ball maestro Neil Wagner, who was unavailable for the first Test, leaving coach Gary Stead to decide whether to drop tall medium-pacer Kyle Jamieson, who shone on debut in Wellington, or spinner Ajaz Patel.

While Hagley is pace friendly, the only time New Zealand has not played a spinner at the venue was when they lost to Australia.

“Whoever we go with we need to put in a performance like we did (in Wellington) because India will get better,” Stead said as he delayed naming his side.

Shastri was weighing up which spinner to play — either Ravi Ashwin, who took three for 99 in Wellington, or Ravindra Jadeja — while confirming opener Prithvi Shaw was available to play after a foot injury.

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