Why did India lose the WTC 2023 Final ?

India and Australia played the World Test Championship Final recently.  Australia defeated India by a big margin of 209 runs. This was the second consecutive loss for team India in the WTC final.  Australian player Travis Head played an incredible innings of 163 runs and won the Player of the Match award. India faced many issues right from the start of the match including the team selection issue. Many former Indian and Australian players criticized the team selection and were not at all happy with the decision team management made. 

Here are 5 reasons why India lost the WTC 2023 final 

Misunderstood the conditions

Indian skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and chose to ball first. By seeing the overcast conditions and the grass cover on the track, India asked Australia to bat first. India planned to bowl out the opposition as early as possible on day 1. But this decision hasn't proved to be right. The Indian bowlers failed to pick two-wickets in the first session under cloudy skies. However, later as the sun came out, Australia got the opportunity to have the best of the batting conditions to score 469 runs in the first innings without facing any difficulty. The pitch helped the batters well and Indians bowlers faced difficulty in taking early wickets. 

Selection issues

India made the unexpected decision of not including Ravichandran Ashwin in the playing XI. Cricket experts and fans were shocked with this decision as the off-spinner has been the leading wicket-taker for India in the WTC cycle 2021-23. Dropping such a quality player was not at all easy but India went with 4 fast bowlers. Many former players called it a big mistake including Sourav Ganguly, Ricky Ponting and many more. He should have been included in Playing XI as Australia had many left-handers in their batting line-up and Ashwin has an excellent record against the left-handers. He must have helped the team in picking up some important wickets. India would have selected Ravichandran Ashwin in place of Umesh Yadav or Shardul Thakur. 

Failure of top-order batters

The Indian top-order has completely failed to perform in the WTC final. They got the start in both the innings but failed to convert them into big scores. Though Virat and Rohit scored in 40s while chasing, Gill and Pujara were the least effective. The top four batters got out very early, putting the pressure on Rahane and Jadeja. Cheteshwar Pujara has had success at the Oval for Surrey in the County Championship and even has a good reputation against the Aussies but his short selections certainly washed it all out. Pujara disappointed the most as he has been a fantastic Test player.

Lack of consistency from the bowlers

Indian fast bowlers had the big responsibility during the Ultimate Test at The Oval but they failed to pick consistent wickets.  Shami and Siraj looked a bit effective against the Australian batters at certain stages but overall the bowlers didn’t perform as expected allowing players to score runs easily.India took almost a day to realize what they needed to do against Steve Smith and Travis Head. India went with only one spinner, this decision also somewhere impacted the bowling performance. As a result, Australia managed to put-up a big score in both the innings. 

The Absence of some important players due to injury

India faced many injury concerns before the WTC final. Players like Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Shreyas Iyer were injured and missed the final against Australia. India really missed Rishabh Pant more than anybody else for sure. The Gabba encounter 2021 is a best example to explain his importance in the Indian team. Bumrah’s absence also affected India a lot. Batter Shreyas Iyer, who smashed a century  on his debut, was also missing. Ajinya Rahane rightly replaced him as he made a good comeback but there was no one to back him, especially in the second inning.

All these issues will surely make Indian team management think and better their plans going forward. Taking right decisions at such a big stage is very important and the team needs to think twice before taking any wrong decision. Test cricket is a five day game and the team needs to make decisions accordingly, not by just considering the first day or the condition before the toss. Captain Rohit Sharma said that the Indian team is always keen to try something new but those trials have been ineffective especially at such a big stage.

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