Former India captain and current BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly has opined that Indian team, led by Virat Kohli, should bat first even if the conditions are overcast in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand as he reckons that such decisions have worked in the favour of the team on overseas tours.
While speaking to India Today, Ganguly said, “If you dig into the record books and see India’s best overseas performances (save 2021 Australia), we have always won matches when we have batted first. It’s about a choice whether you want to face the pressure first up in adverse conditions or wait for the fourth innings.”
“Look at Leeds in 2002 or 2018 South Africa, we batted first in bowling friendly conditions, soaked in the initial pressure, put runs on the board and that’s how we won those games. Even Mark Taylor or Steve Waugh’s Australian teams rarely fielded even in seaming conditions. Maybe occasionally when the wicket used to be damp,” HE ADDED.
The BCCI chief also said that Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill will carry a huge responsibility on their shoulders as they will face the new ball attack and would require to give flying start to their side.
“Opening becomes a very important aspect when you tour abroad. When we toured Australia, England and Pakistan, we played well because we had openers like Virender Sehwag and Aakash Chopra, who used to play out the new ball and make it old. When your middle-order batsmen come out to bat at 30 for 2 then it becomes really difficult for a side to compete,” Ganguly opined.
“This tour therefore, will be very crucial for openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. Not just the WTC Final but also the 5 Tests against England. They will have to play out the new ball and put a price on their wickets. If they are able to do that then they will be able to set the game for the batsmen coming after them like Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and India’s best batsman on current form Rishabh Pant,” he added.