Let’s look at the reasons why New Zealand not picking a spinner might be the right call:
1. To counter the threat of Rishabh Pant:
Rishabh Pant’s stock has been rising since his tour of Australia. He took India from a losing position to victory on many occasions over the past months. But what stood out was his ability to counter attack. He absolutely trashed every spinner. Whether it was Nathan Lyon, Jack Leach, Dom Bess or Joe Root. He kept attacking all of them and took India to a good position in the test match.
Hence putting Ajaz Patel in front of such a left hand batsman would be threatening. Pant could have easily launched an assault on him. On the other hand, it would be difficult for him to launch an attack on the fast bowlers in the friendly conditions. This was the case as we saw in the first innings. He was dismissed by Jamieson after playing a rash shot.
2. Variety in their fast-bowling
New Zealand not playing a spinner doesn’t mean they have a one dimensional bowling attack. All four front line bowlers who are playing are different. Tim Southee is a veteran swing bowler. Trent Boult is a world class left arm bowler who takes the ball both ways. Neil Wagner is not much of a swing bowler. But he is a hit the deck bowler and can provide his team wickets when necessary. Kyle Jamieson is the x-factor in this lineup. The tall fast bowler is accurate and troubles batsmen with his bounce.
Hence, these bowlers will never let any batting unit in the world settle or runway with the match. New Zealand’s fast bowling is the best unit in the whole world. They proved exactly why in the first innings of the final.
3. Inexperience in spin department
Both Ajaz Patel and Mitchell Santner do not have enough experience in the test format. They have not played much test cricket in England as well. Hence playing either of these two would have more problems rather than solutions. It is no secret that Indian batsmen will face spinners rather than seam and swing bowlers. Each Indian batsmen has grown up playing spin. So they are more than capable of countering spin in most conditions.
On the other hand, seam and swing constantly challenges their techniques. Not every batsman has the mindset to play in these conditions. Nor did they have enough time to practice for seam and swing. Chances of Indian batsman counter attacking spin is much higher in comparison to counter attacking fast bowlers.
New Zealand dismissed team India for a below par score of 217. New Zealand are going steadily at 102 for the loss of just two wickets. Indian bowlers have not been able to purchase as much swing as New Zealand bowlers. Also, the spin twin of Ravi Ashwin and Jadeja haven’t been able to turn the ball as much as they would like yet.