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Martin Crowe - Pitch for bare truth

Crowe concedes he was too quick in judging the stand-in skipper’s captaincy at Napier

Friday, April 03, 2022
'Was too harsh on Sehwag'

Tony Greig has made it clear that he thinks I have been too harsh on Virender Sehwag’s captaincy in the 2nd Test in Napier. He rightly points out that Sehwag had a bad game, but who doesn’t? He says, along with Ian Chappell, that Sehwag has done some good work as vice captain in the past. I am not about to argue with these astute gentlemen. I often have bad days and so I wish to apologise for being too harsh, too quickly. I should have waited and seen more of Sehwag as captain before casting an opinion. May I say though that I can’t withdraw that comment that what I saw in Napier was the strangest and poorest display of tactics I’ve seen. But I should have been more patient in assessing his role as a leader overall, after all he was only given the captaincy minutes before the toss. See, I had a bad day in Napier too. Apart from that it’s been a heck of a lot of fun to commentate on the series and much to really be positive about. Let’s not let one off day spoil anything.

Looking forward to the final Test I assume MS Dhoni will be back fit and will lead his side. If so NZ will struggle to beat a team who not only have a lead 1-0, but they are extremely determined to wrap up the series win, as shown by their resoluteness in the last 2 days in Napier.

The fans here in NZ, including the Sky commentary team, have had great delight in watching this Indian side perform superbly over the whole tour. After the first 2 games of T20 where they slowly settled into the conditions, they have had only a small handful of off days – the last ODI and in Napier for the first 3. This is to be expected when you are on the road a lot in the modern game. Having said that if India wants to be the best Test side in the world they will need to improve a notch more in their consistency. Once they do that their undoubted skill across the park will see them dominate world cricket for a period. Two players in particular, Munaf and Yuvraj, need to search for greater discipline in their game. Once that is entrenched they will be awesome.

The Basin Reserve pitch will be a result wicket. It will have assistance for everyone except true pace. It’s an honest pitch with few demons, but enough to encourage both batsmen and bowlers alike. Add the wind factor at some stage and it will test both sides. On paper, India will win 2-0. But as proved in Napier, NZ must be respected. They are a desperate side. When you are ranked so low, and with such a supportive fan base, it is only natural that the Blackcaps will fight to the end. It’s in our blood. When we are up against the world, this small but proud nation will scrap hard.

In the short term however, we are very inexperienced. In 4-5 years NZ will be a force again, maybe next time India tour here.

In the meantime we have loved this tour and its entire colour, drama and even the bizarre. It’s what makes the world go around. Even Sehwag’s field placements! It shows he is human. And I love that.

I’m sure the last week will be no different.