Friday, July 19, 2024

WTC Final: Trying to be as consistent as I possibly can for the team, says Travis Head

After being adjudged the Player of the Match in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) Final against India at The Oval for his first innings knock of 163, middle-order batter Travis Head said the reward came for him trying to be as consistent as possible to give his best self for the team.

Head managed scores of 163 and 18 during the one-off Test, which propelled Australia to beat India by 209 runs and win their first-ever WTC title. Head came to the crease when Australia were in a spot of bother at 76/3 on Day One, before combining with Steve Smith (121) for a 285-run stand that swung the momentum in favour of his team.

“It’s amazing. A lot of hard work over two years. (Positive approach) has been the way for me in the last two years. I wanted to be proactive and score if the balls were there and then if they bowl in nice areas you try and be good enough to stay out there for long periods. I was tested through my innings,” said Head in the post-match presentation ceremony.

The honour came for Head after he was dropped from playing eleven in Australia’s first Test against India at Nagpur earlier this year in February. Head was then brought back for the second game in Delhi, where nice scores at the top in the absence of David Warner gave him a consistent run in sub-continent conditions. The left-hander had the highest strike rate amongst the batters in the 2021-23 WTC cycle.

“It was nice to be able to bat as well as we did with (Smith). It was an amazing Test for him. I’ve always had the confidence. It’s been about going out there and expressing that. It took me some time to find a blueprint in first-class cricket and Test cricket.”

“I’ve always been open to change. Always been committed to knowing what I needed to do to step up. I’ve bedded down somewhat. I’m trying to be as consistent as I possibly can for the team,” he added.

Smith was also effusive in his praise for Head. “It’s a great achievement for this group, we played some good cricket in the last 2 years to get over here, and so did India. We got into a nice position on the first day, Trav (Head) played really well, allowed me to anchor the innings, and it helped us control the innings well.”

Smith also took a stunning catch of Virat Kohli at second slip on day five off Scott Boland’s bowling, which caused India to be bowled out for 234 in a mammoth chase of 444.

“We know how good Virat is, he’s an exceptional player and when chasing totals, he becomes dangerous. Boland was excellent in the morning spell, hit the right areas consistently, we knew he would produce that outside edge and it did come (talking about his catch),” he added.

Left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc said Australia knew chances would come to wrap up India’s second innings with chances coming along.

“We were patient enough against a quality line-up and managed to get the breakthroughs needed. Rub off the green went our way, a smart catch from Smith and to get Kohli early on was a big boost. He played well in the first innings (about Rahane), and was a nice partnership as well, we knew if we stick to our task we will get chances and they did come.”

“This group has played for a long time, some new guys have come in, and the last series against India didn’t go our way, but we have played together as a group and have stuck together. Both sides were familiar with each other (having played a Test series recently), and a lot of the guys have played with each other in the IPL, so we know a lot about watching others’ games, Lyon did a good job as well and we enjoyed ourselves.”

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