India let the game drift because one man can get some runs: Ex pacer slams Virat Kohli & Co.'s tactics vs NZ

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Dec 07, 2021, 08:00 PM IST
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Former England pacer Steve Harmison lashed out at Virat Kohli-led India's tactics in the second and final Test versus New Zealand.

India demolished New Zealand by a massive 372-run margin on Day 4 of the second and final Test at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on Monday (December 6). Setting up a mammoth 540-run margin for the visitors, India needed only five more wickets to win the match and close the series with a 1-0 scoreline.

Talking about the final encounter in Mumbai, India opted to bat first at the iconic stadium in Mumbai. Riding on Mayank Agarwal's 150 and Axar Patel's half-century, India posed 325 all-out. In reply, R Ashwin's four-fer and Mohammed Siraj's 3 for 19 bundled out the Kiwis for 62. Surprising many, India didn't enforce the follow-on despite just bowling 28.1 overs. 

Thus, India declared their second innings at 276-7 and wrapped up the proceedings in a flash, bowling out the Black Caps for 167 in the final innings, to win by a whopping margin. Despite the big win, former England pacer isn't impressed with Virat Kohli-led India's tactics. 

Harmison said on talkSPORT's Following On Cricket Podcast, "I honestly don't understand the Virat Kohli non-declaration (follow-on) decision. His bowlers had only bowled 28.1 overs. If it's a commercial decision, that worries me a little bit. But if the Indian selectors are looking at Pujara and Kohli to get some runs going ahead to the South African series, that should be enough telling that they should not go."

"If you are that desperate to let a game drift just because one man can get some runs, I really don't understand what the reason was behind not enforcing follow-on. The team you had lost to in the WTC final, you had a chance to beat them by an innings. For me, that would have been enough to run New Zealand's faces in the dirt. But, it's Virat's prerogative," added Harmison.

On the other hand, head coach Rahul Dravid opened up on India's tactics and told the broadcasters after the match, "Also, a lot of youngsters needed the chance to bat in challenging conditions - to play on red-soil wickets, with this kind of bounce, it'll only help them grow as players, especially when they travel and play in different conditions. We knew we had enough time to bowl them out once again."

India will now head to South Africa for a three-match Test series in the African nation, starting from December 26 in Centurion. The tour will also comprise three ODIs whereas the T20Is will be played at a later date.