Aakash Chopra – Five things India must keep in mind in the WTC final


They need to understand how New Zealand play their cricket, and respond to that

New Zealand favour discipline over aggression
Every team has a certain style of playing cricket and New Zealand’s preferred approach in Test cricket is to maintain control over proceedings for extended periods of time. The game might not move much in either direction in that time, but they like it that way. They believe in seizing the advantage bit by bit. If they’re able to control the flow of a match for a session or two, they know that they have the game to stretch it further. With bat and ball, most of their players choose discipline over aggression.

Be prepared to play boring cricket
When you encounter a team that plays like New Zealand do, it’s important to acknowledge it and change your game slightly too. There are many phases in Test matches when New Zealand’s seamers bowl a teasing line outside off with a packed off-side field. The length they use will also be a little shorter than what’s ideal for driving, and never short enough that you can score comfortably off the back foot. Barring the first day or so, pitches in New Zealand usually become fairly batting-friendly, with little pace off the surface, which is why their bowlers know to play the holding role effectively. India’s batters must respect their strategy and avoid getting too aggressive. A couple of wickets is all it can take to change the course of a Test match.

Bowl bouncers
English conditions typically aren’t considered ideal for consistently short-pitched bowling, but if you have the pace, like this Indian bowling attack does, you must use bouncers liberally. The New Zealand batters are unlikely to take them on, but bowling short will be a good ploy to prevent them getting comfortable with planting the front foot and playing the ball close to the body. When you encounter a batting side like New Zealand, it’s important to rattle their cage every now and then. While most sides would bowl bouncers to the likes of Ross Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme, the Indian fast bowlers must use them against Henry Nicholls, Devon Conway and Tom Latham too. Also, whenever a batter is new at the crease, there’s always a little window of opportunity before he finds his feet, so bouncers are helpful in unsettling them.