Hanuma Vihari heaped rich praise on head coach Ravi Shastri, saying he gave the team courage and confidence to fight back from difficult situations during their victorious campaign in recently concluded 4-Test series Down Under.
India’s Sydney Test hero Hanuma Vihari said the Indian dressing room mood was also positive during the Border-Gavaskar series in Australia even as the visitors were batted and bruised losing key players to injuries over a period of a month Down Under.
Hanuma Vihari: Decided To Take Series As 3 Match After 1st Test Debacle
Hanuma Vihari said the senior members in the dressing room, including head coach Ravi Shastri, never made them feel demotivated, even after they were bundled out for their lowest-ever Test score of 36 in Adelaide.
India were written off after suffering batting collapse in the Test series opener in Adelaide. The visitors suffered setbacks by injuries to key players throughout the tour along with the prospect of not having Virat Kohli for the last 3 Tests was considered a big setback. India lost Mohammed Shami as well after the first Test and the injury list only kept growing. So much so that for the final Test in Brisbane, India did not have any of their first-choice bowlers.
However, India fought back every time they were pushed to a corner. They sprung back in the 2nd Test in Melbourne to level the series, putting behind one of the most dramatic collapses in recent Indian cricket history.
“I think it’s easier coming back disappointed, having a meeting, showing emotions, blaming it on someone or something. It only happens outside the team. Inside the team, we were united. At any stage, we never spoke about it. We said let’s leave it behind us. It was a freak innings, everything we played, we were edging it and it was going to hands. We said it might never happen in the future,” Vihari said.
“That was the discussion we had in the team meeting. We decided to look at it as a 3-match series from thereon. ‘Let’s win the series. Let’s forget about the first Test, it’s a three-game series for us’.”
“Now if you look at it, we won it 2-0. That was the positive thinking which we had in the dressing room. And we truly believed in it. We never doubted ourselves as a batting unit. We could see the fight we showed in Melbourne, Sydney and Gabba is the true testimony of our belief,” he added.
Hanuma Vihari credited the dressing room morale for their ability to fight back from difficult situations during the 4-Test series. Hanuma Vihari said India treated the series as a 3-match affair after they lost the first Test in Adelaide.
Hanuma Vihari Credited Ravi Shastri And Ajinkya Rahane
Hanuma Vihari credited head coach Ravi Shastri and captain Ajinkya Rahane for making sure the team believed they could come back from tough situations during the fiercely-contested Test series in Australia. He said Ravi Shastri never made them feel they were blown away in the Adelaide Test were they registered lowest ever Test score of 36.
“After the first Test, the way Ravi sir handled the tea… At any point, we didn’t feel like we were smashed in 3 days. If you look at the first Test, we dominated the first two days but in one session, we got blown away. But he never made us feel that we lost it very badly.”
“He said we dominated the two days, that’s a positive in a Test match. That’s the positive thinking of the man he is. He gives us courage and strength with the way he talks in the huddle or the team meetings, he is always positive. He always tells us to go and express ourselves, not to think too much about the result and stuff.”
“No credit is less to have the faith in the young side and he always said it’s Team India going into the ground, no matter how many games you played whether you played 80 games or whether you’re playing your first game. It’s always Team India that going into the ground That’s the pride he carries for the team.”
“Ajinkya, the calm and composure he carries on the ground, it always reflects on the others. We were able to express ourselves more. We have a clear mindset of what we need to do. He has led us well, he has got a 100 percent record in Test cricket. So I want to congratulate him,” Vihari added.
Hanuma Vihari, braving a hamstring tear, played a key role in helping India draw the 3rd Test in Sydney. He didn’t play the 4th Test as with a second-string line-up, India went on to breach Australia’s fortress at the Gabba and seal a historic win and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.