‘Unreal! One of the greatest series ever’

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Head coach Ravi Shastri says ‘giving up’ is not a part of his team’s vocabulary

An emotional Ravi Shastri termed India’s historic series win in Australia as one of the best series the game has ever seen.

“I am not someone who generally has tears in my eyes, but I had real tears because this is unreal, what these guys have pulled off. It will go down in history as one of the greatest series ever played,” said Shastri.

The head coach added, “When you look at the COVID situation and the spate of injuries, taking everything into account, and to show the stomach for a fight after being bowled out for 36 is unimaginable.”

 

Commenting on how the team approached the final-day chase, Shastri said the plan was to take the game deep before making a decision on whether to go for the target.

“Right from the beginning, myself, the support staff and Jinks [Rahane] decided to play normal cricket. Just play your natural game and don’t try to manufacture something. Try and set the game up more than anything else by taking it session by session and then if you get an opportunity towards the end with wickets in hand, then you can think about going for it.

Gill set the platform

“The innings [Shubman] Gill played set the platform and tone. For someone on his first tour to Australia, on a bouncy Gabba track, to take on the attack the way he did, got the momentum going for us. Then there was Rishabh Pant. You can’t change his style. In his mind, he was always chasing. When he kept looking at the scoreboard, you knew he had some other ideas,” Shastri added.

Asked about how the team dealt with the constant setbacks, with injuries in every match ruling out several key players, Shastri said that it was the work done over the last five to six years that has helped build the bench strength to win Tests.

“If you look at the India bowling attack that beat Australia in 2018-19, there was not a single bowler playing [here]. It was important to keep the self belief going and Ajinkya did a great job by being calm, composed and taking everything in his stride.

Outstanding achievement

“It is not easy to go out with a bowling attack that is three Test matches old. And then to marshall the resources was an outstanding achievement. It is the self-belief that this team has. People think it has come overnight, it doesn’t come overnight.

“It is a process that has taken five to six years. They have had tough tours, they have had losses, but what they have learnt now is never to give up. The feeling of being defeated is one thing but giving up is not in our vocabulary.”

Shastri also did not fail to point out that this was Virat Kohli’s side, saying his personality and stamp is there for everyone to see even if he was not on the field.

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