Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has revealed that India being bundled out for 36 in the second innings of the pink-ball Test against Australia in Adelaide last year was the lowest point in his four-year tenure. India had bounced back after the defeat to take the four match Test series 2-1.
India's disappointing T20 World Cup 2021 marked the end of Ravi Shastri's four-year tenure as India's full-time head coach. The team achieved various highs during his stint, especially in Test cricket, punctuated by a few lows in between.
India won 25 of the 43 Tests and 51 of the 76 ODIs during Shastri's stint, with two Test series wins in Australia, the run to the World Test Championship 2021 final and a 2-1 lead in England earlier this year being the major highlights in red-ball cricket.
The team's 2-1 series win in Australia in 2020-21 was a historic one, for it came after they were defeated by eight-wickets in the series opener in Adelaide, courtesy of an infamous 36 all-out effort in their second innings. Shastri marked the passage as the lowest point of his stint.
"See, the coach is in the firing line; there is no choice. That is the quirk of the job. You have to be ready from day one. I knew there would be no escape routes. The 36 all out was the lowest point," Shastri, whose tenure as head coach came to an end after the 2021 T20 World Cup last month, told The Week.
"We had nine wickets in hand (overnight) and then we were bundled out for 36. All that had to be done was score to 80-odd more runs (to be in the game). We were all numb. We were in a state of shock for days. How could that have happened?"
India were leading by 53 runs at the end of first innings in Adelaide. However, Australia pacers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins ran through their batting unit in the second innings, bagging five and four wickets respectively to skittle them out for 36. The top-order ensured that the 90-run target was completed with eight wickets remaining.
India missed the services of Mohammad Shami, who sustained an injury after being hit on the arm by a Pat Cummins delivery at the end of India's innings. Virat Kohli had flew back home to attend the birth of his child, while Ishant Sharma had already been ruled out of the series. The team bounced back strongly after the Adelaide defeat under the leadership of Ajinkya Rahane, and won the second and fourth Test in Melbourne and Brisbane respectively, while earning a hard-fought draw in Sydney to take the series 2-1.
Shastri looked back at the historic win.
"It was not just me. I would be the first to put my hand up and say I was the one responsible, take the brickbats; there is no place to hide," he said. "I told the boys to focus on what they could do. The boys were unbelievable. One month after that 36 all out, on January 19, we had won the series. I am still thinking, how did that happen? I promise, as long as I live, people will talk about that series win."