India's head coach Ravi Shastri has stated that Rishabh Pant's century in the fourth Test was the best counter-attacking inning that he has ever seen in India. He also added that the boys were like zombies and were tired during the first Test, besides terming the bubble experience a tough one.
Indian wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant, who had missed out with the bat in the third Test, after making fifties in each of his first two Tests, bounced back strongly in the final Test. Coming at a critical situation, he made a brilliant century for India and turned the game on its head. It was also his first century this year after getting out twice in the 90s at the SCG and the Chepauk respectively. The southpaw also had a great series behind the stumps on some tough surfaces.
India's head coach Ravi Shastri revealed that the team has been hard on Pant and he was told that he needed to respect the game more and he has done a great job. He also termed Pant's century as the best counter-attacking knock he has ever seen in India.
"Pant has been simply magnificent. We were hard on him. Nothing comes easy. He was told in no uncertain terms that he has got to respect the game a little more. He's got to lose a bit of weight and work hard on his keeping. We know the talent he has and he has responded. He has worked like hell for the last few months and the results are here to see. Yesterday's innings was the best counterattacking innings I have seen in India," Ravi Shastri told the host broadcasters, reported Cricbuzz.
"It was a two phase innings. He built a partnership with Rohit playing against his nature - to do that is not easy - and to turn it on after 50. Keeping has been magnificent and Washi was outstanding too."
India made a terrific comeback after losing the Test series opener to finish 3-1 and reach the World Test Championship final. Shastri revealed that the side was very tired coming into the first Test. He also praised Ahmedabad's groundsman and also the English side for the fight they showed.
"The first Test in Chennai could have been different with a bit more rest. Boys were like zombies, they were tired and there was no crowd to cheer them on. Who will complain about tracks like these. The groundsmen have done a fantastic job. The scoreline of 3-1 doesn't reflect how close the series was. It's like our series in England we lost 1-4. England had their moments and if they grabbed those we could have had a different result."
Notably, many players who featured in the series, have been under the bubble since August, last year, with only a week break post the tour Down Under. Reflecting on life inside bio-bubble, the former Indian cricketer asserted that it's extremely difficult to live under such restrictions.
"Six months in the bubble, seeing the same faces. The bubble will burst (smiles). It's tough for professional players when you are not doing well.. it's really tough being the bubble," he said.
He also attributed the series win to the teamwork that the side showcased and added that this side never gives up, no matter what.
"It was a team work, not one individual calling the shots. We've given opportunities for youngsters and they have grabbed those and delivered. They have been in a corner but they have fought from there. This side refuses to give up. We were irrepressible in Australia and we are the same here too. The support staff have put in hours and hours of work to get the best out of the boys and more importantly to have them in the right frame of mind, Our main thing was to show empathy to the players because these are tough times."