NZ vs IND: India undone by movement and bounce - Jeremy Coney

The former New Zealand captain was disappointed by India’s performance in the Test series; he felt the batsmen did not show enough intent.

Coney was surprised by the way Virat Kohli batted in the Tests.   -  Getty Images

It’s one of those unforgettable vignettes from the World Series Cup down under in the early 80s.

Jeremy Coney waving a white handkerchief after India’s force of nature Kapil Dev had clobbered him for a blaze of sixes. “It was a mock surrender of sorts!” said Coney to Sportstar even as he laughed.

A blithe spirit and a fine cricketer, Coney led New Zealand with success. Batting in tough conditions against some great pacemen of the 70s and 80s, Coney made 2668 runs from 52 Tests at 37.57. He was also a handy seamer with 81 international wickets; Coney made 1874 runs from 88 ODIs.

A major figure in New Zealand cricket, Coney recalled the WSC game where Kapil went after him. “I actually bowled the first seven overs, gave little away. Then, Kapil entered. I was again tossed the ball. And Kapil bludgeoned me. There were many sixes, including the one over the sightscreen and a flat shoulder-high six over cover. Then, came out the handkerchief!”

‘Surprised’

Talk to Coney about the reasons for India’s series defeat and here he observed, “There is more bounce in New Zealand pitches than in India, more seam movement and swing too. You need to make mental and technical adjustments.”

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Coney added, “I was surprised by the manner Virat Kohli batted. He was dragging his front foot wider and wider. And he seemed to be going hard at the ball than waiting for it. Swing bothered him.”

Jeremy Coney played in tough conditions against some great pacemen of the 1970s and 80s. He scored 2668 runs in 52 Tests. - THE HINDU ARCHIVES

The former New Zealand captain said, the Indians did not show enough intent. He elaborated. “Intent is not just about playing shots. It’s about solid front-foot defence. It can be a sure-footed back-foot defence. Or a good ‘leave’ outside off.”

Coney was disappointed by India’s performance. “They are the No. 1 ranked Test team in the world. I expected more from them. They were undone by both movement and bounce. And the short-pitched deliveries bothered them.”

Smelling fear

Then the 67-year-old Coney travelled back to his own days. And he spoke about playing the West Indian fast bowlers. He said, “You could smell fear when playing them. It was there in the air around the team facing those fast bowlers.”

Coney recollected, “It used to be bizarre. There would be nobody in front of the batsman! All the fielders would be 40 yards back behind the stumps.”

Coney said, “So as a batsman you thought you could get easy runs in front of the wicket. There were no fielders there. But you bat for an hour and look at the scoreboard and you would be three not out! They gave you nothing.”

Full of laughter and tales, Coney certainly is.

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