“They gave too long spells to Shami and Siraj…” Ravi Shastri Criticizes India’s Bowling Tactics In WTC Final

Ravi Shastri, the former Indian head coach, has expressed his disappointment over India’s utilization of Mohammed Siraj and Mohammad Shami during the first session of the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia. Shastri believes that the Indian team could have employed better tactics to maximize the impact of their bowlers.

Australia ended Day 1 of the WTC final at The Oval with a score 327/3. While Siraj and Shami managed to pick up a wicket each, they appeared to be the most threatening bowlers for India. The Aussie batsmen seemed relatively untroubled once Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur were introduced into the attack.

During a review of the day’s play on Star Sports, Shastri was asked if India could have done things differently. In response, he stated that although the team selection and fielding decisions were made, there could have been more astute tactical choices. Shastri suggested that Siraj and Shami should have been preserved for the right moments, as they had already extensively bowled with the new ball in the first session.

While reviewing the day’s play on Star Sports, Shastri was asked whether India could have done anything differently, to which he responded: “Once you had picked the team, it’s fine – Ashwin played or not, and that you fielded. But you could have been tactically much sounder after that. Siraj and Shami had to bowl their second spells in the first session.”

Shastri initially criticized the decision to give long spells to Shami and Siraj, pointing out that they had not played first-class cricket for several months. He believed that considering the pitch improvement as the sun came out, it would have been wise to use them strategically at the appropriate time.

“They gave too long spells to Shami and Siraj at the start. You know they have not played first-class cricket for three or four months, and it will be difficult to bowl the entire day. The thinking should have been that this pitch will improve once the sun comes out, so they should have been preserved and used at the right time,” said Shastri.

According to Shastri’s analysis, a shorter first spell for Siraj and Shami, followed by the rotation of all four fast bowlers, would have been more effective in the initial two hours of play. He opined that Siraj and Shami should have bowled most of the overs in the first session, accounting for around 70% of the workload.

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Shastri added that the two strike weapons should have bowled most of the overs in the first session: “So, in my opinion, a short first spell and all four fast bowlers should have been used in the first two hours of play. Siraj and Shami should have done 70% of the bowling in the first session.”

However, in the WTC final, Siraj and Shami bowled only six overs each with the new ball and were replaced by Umesh and Shardul. The change in the bowling attack allowed David Warner to capitalize on Umesh’s second over, where he hit four consecutive fours, altering the game’s momentum.

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