ICC World Cup: Can’t allow Jadeja, Yadav, Ashwin to bowl how they want

I think Australia will be disappointed by the fact that they weren’t able put any pressure back on India, says former ODI and T20 captain Aaron Finch

Former Australian skipper Aaron Finch feels India will be really hard to beat at the ICC World Cup 2023 (photo: ICC)
Former Australian skipper Aaron Finch feels India will be really hard to beat at the ICC World Cup 2023 (photo: ICC)

Aaron Finch

After Suresh Raina and Eoin Morgan, former Australia ODI and T20 captain Aaron Finch offers his take on the ICC World Cup 2023, with special reference to Australia's six-wicket defeat against India in Chennai on Sunday, in this special column.

It was a fantastic game, much lower-scoring than we expected, and the conditions played a big part. I spoke to Rahul Dravid before the game and he didn’t expect there to be any dew. He was really surprised when it came down and said that India would have batted first as well. 

You can’t allow Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravi Ashwin to bowl how they want to bowl on a surface like that. They’re so accurate and so highly skilled — Jadeja has done it to Australia so many times now. 

Part of it comes down to how India bowled spin, but we also need to look at the way that Australia batted. There was a clear plan among the group to be proactive, to try to limit dot balls and rotate the strike against what they knew would be a world-class group of spinners. 

There was a slight lack of aggression from the Australian batters. I think they’ll be disappointed by the intent they showed and the fact that they weren’t able put any pressure back on India. It needs a mindset shift, to look to be on the front foot a little more and take some calculated risks. 

That being said, everything felt possible when India were two for three. The atmosphere in the ground was amazing, when the ball went in the air with Virat Kohli on 12, it went dead silent and there was a kind of collective groan that I’ve never heard before. When it went down, the fans went nuts and that was the turning point for sure. Australia created enough opportunities and if they’d got Virat, that would have put a totally different complexion on the game. 

When Virat gets in, he gets the crowd onside and the momentum starts to swing his way, he feels unstoppable. The way he managed that run chase was unbelievable and KL Rahul played a masterful knock.  

If Australia had got up to 240, India wouldn’t have been able to soak up the pressure for 15 overs. Chasing 200, the run-rate was never going to get out of hand. More chances would have come if India had to pull the trigger a bit earlier.

Adam Zampa clearly didn’t bowl as well as he has in the past. He’s had a neck injury and some shoulder issues, so understandably is a little bit below his best. 

The ball got very wet and the way that Rahul hit him off his length in the first over was devastating. He played a beautiful late cut to a very good ball and that forced Zamps to be a little bit fuller, to strive for a little more pace and ultimately overpitch. That was down to great batting rather than anything Zamps could have done differently, they just had the better of him yesterday. 

The mood around Australia is still optimistic. With a nine-game group stage, you can afford a little slip-up here and there and it’s not fatal. In the T20 World Cup, we found that losing one game was enough and the margins were really fine. Here, you can cope with a couple of losses, you just don’t want them to be too big for the net run rate. 

All in all, India have got such a well-rounded squad, three brilliant spinners and three brilliant quicks, and Hardik Pandya being back, and bowling, is huge for the balance of their side. They will be so hard to beat in these conditions. 

Aaron Finch is a former limited-overs captain of Australia who led his team to a T20 World Cup triumph in 2021. Column courtesy: International Cricket Council 

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