India head coach Ravi Shastri on Tuesday described his injury-hit side’s gritty Test series victory over Australia as “unreal”, especially after the Adelaide debacle where the visitors were dismissed for their lowest Test score of 36.
Shastri also said that the just-concluded series was the toughest tour ever for him.
“It is the toughest tour ever. Nothing surpasses this. After 36 all out, this is unreal,” Shastri said after the three-wicket win in the fourth and final Test here which sealed the series 2-1 in favour of the tourists.
“Feeling defeated is one thing but giving up is not in our vocabulary.”
Shastri said India’s performance will not be forgotten by the cricket world for a long time to come.
India retained the coveted Border-Gavaskar trophy with the historic win here, successfully chasing a 328-run target.
Rishabh Pant (89 not out off 138 balls) intimidated the Australians with his breathtaking strokeplay, ending the home team’s 32-year-old unbeaten run at the ‘Fortress Gabba’ on Tuesday.
Shastri was effusive in his praise for the young wicketkeeper-batsman, who has copped heavy criticism for erratic performances behind the stumps but earned renewed respect for his efforts with the bat.
“In his mind Pant was always chasing. You could see he was looking at the scoreboard,” Shastri said.
“He is a good listener. As coach, you don’t want to change anyone’s natural ability but you need to strike the right balance between caution and aggression. You can’t be reckless. Rishabh has learnt that,” he added.
Shastri said Pant, who scored a 97 in the drawn Sydney Test, could have won that match for India, had he stayed.
“He could have finished the game in Sydney had he been there for some more time. This time he made sure he was there till the end,” he said.
“When he doesn’t keep well, people criticise him But he can help you win matches like these.”