R Sridhar, India’s fielding coach talked in detail to Cricketnext about the tour of Australia, explaining the multiple dropped catches, Rishabh Pant’s wicketkeeping, Ravi Shastri’s inputs as a coach and a lot more.
Shubman Gill’s 91 and Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 89 set the tone on the final day of the fourth Test which helped India pull off the highest successful run chase (328) at the Gabba and become the first team after the West Indies to beat Australia at that venue which had become a fortress since 1988.
R Sridhar: Ravi Shastri’s Inputs Have Always Been Invaluable For Team
Rishabh Pant hit the winning runs, a boundary off Josh Hazlewood to finish the match with just 3 overs left to spare, and later picked up the Player of the Match trophy for a truly memorable knock which made the stiff target possible as India clinched the series 2-1 and retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Captain Virat Kohli had left after the first Test on paternity leave while likes of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Hanuma Vihari, KL Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin were injured at various stages of the Test series.
“Best tour ever, 100%. There’s no doubt. Big cricket pundits and connoisseurs too say this is one of India’s best series ever. This one is right up there. Brisbane is one of the better Tests I’ve been a part of, ” R Sridhar on Australian tour.
“Definitely there was belief. Because, the 36 all out had happened. So, it won’t happen again and again. We all knew it won’t repeat. Ajinkya very rightly said, we’ll play it like a three match series from here. Forget the pink ball match, ” he said on 36 not out.
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.
“First of all, Shastri doesn’t care about what people think. This is not the first series where his inputs have been invaluable to the Indian team. People just fail to see… all this is overshadowed by idiotic trolls that come. He’s always been one of the best observers, it’s outstanding, ” said R Sridhar on Ravi Shastri.
“We are also very very blessed to have Bharat Arun with us, he is one of the best readers of a cricket pitch I’ve ever seen. His knowledge of soil, grass, the way pitches are prepared across the world is outstanding because he has himself made grounds and pitches in Chennai in those days. He can read pitches to perfection, ” R Sridhar said on Bharat Arun.
India fielded a relatively inexperienced team especially in bowling department in 4th Test as pacer Mohammed Siraj was the most experienced playing 3 Tests while Australia’s Nathan Lyon played 100 Tests. All Australia’s frontline bowlers played more than 30 Tests.
R Sridhar: Hanuma Vihari Is Cheteshwar Pujara’s Apprentice, Rishabh Pant Is A Great Package And Mohammed Siraj Is Mentally Strong
Ajinkya Rahane’s 80 % win percentage is undoubtedly one of the best in Tests among Indian captains. Under him, India won the Test series as a bunch of newcomers who were handed debuts in absence of injury-hit players performed excellently.
“As a fielding coach… yes we dropped catches, but we also took some brilliant catches. Rohit Sharma took a record by taking five catches in an innings, ” R Sridhar said on good catches and fielding.
“Nobody understands the nuances. All they say is – the player dropped the catch, sack the fielding coach. I can’t coach him at that moment. It’s a very intrinsic thing, the approach to red and white ball, ” R Sridhar said on dropped catches.
“I think Rishabh Pant is a great package as he is. As of now itself I’ll pick him in every team. He’s a great package from behind and in front of the stumps. He has an infectious and youthful energy, and a raw approach he brings is a great package. Yes his wicketkeeping is a work in progress. He keeps working hard, ” he said on Rishabh Pant.
“Siraj goes on to prove that he’s mentally strong, can perform in adversity. We all know Vihari is in the mould of a Pujara. We always labelled him as Pujara’s apprentice. He’s always thought he’s someone who can do what Pujara does for Indian cricket. He has got the temperament, concentration and skill-set. He’s one of the better players of spin in the country, ” R Sridhar said on Hanuma Vihari and Mohammed Siraj.
“Luckily we didn’t have such a situation as we had enough players – Kuldeep Yadav, Kartik Tyagi, Wriddhiman Saha, Prithvi Shaw, ” R Sridhar said on India’s injury concerns giving a hard time to pick 11 players.
“As support staff of the Indian team, we are already discussing (about England series) and have moved forward. We are expecting a formidable opposition and a great contest. It’s almost a week now, so it’s time to move on, ” R Sridhar said on upcoming England Test series.
In key players absence, youngsters and largely inexperienced players like Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar, Rishabh Pant, Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan took on the responsibilities and helped India cross the finish line to clinch a historic Test and series win for India.