NEW DELHI: Former batsman VVS Laxman lauded the Indian cricket team for their stupendous show against Australia by winning the 4th Test at the Gabba in Brisbane on Tuesday.
In his column for the Times of India, Laxman wrote, “The adrenaline is still pumping, there has been no dip in excitement levels even this long after India’s sensational victory at the Gabba. The last three Tests in Australia have been inspirational. The cricket has been exhilarating, without a doubt, but as I have repeatedly pointed out in the last day and a half to my kids Sarvajit and Achintya, this Indian team has provided precious life-lessons. It’s a tribute to the mettle of fine young men who will go a long way in life.”
No team had scored more than 236/7 in the fourth innings to win a Test match at the Gabba. India reached 329/7 to win by three wickets, replacing the 1951 Australian team for that record. India have now won the Test series twice on consecutive tours Down Under.
“To defeat Australia in their backyard is a monumental accomplishment. To do so without more than a half-dozen first-choice players, and from the spirit-shattering 36 all out in the first Test, has few parallels. The fortitude of this Indian team will be spoken about for many years. We can all take pride in having been witness to their indomitable spirit, their unshakeable character. In the immediacy of the Adelaide debacle, India had two choices – brood over the calamity, or use it as a springboard to rediscovery. Unsurprisingly, given Ravi Shastri is the head coach, they embraced the latter path. They understood they couldn’t undo what had happened,” Laxman added.
Team India was without almost a dozen front-line players, including skipper Virat Kohli who returned home after the first Test in Adelaide on a paternity leave. Among bowlers, Ishant Sharma didn’t tour, Mohammed Shami broke his arm while batting in the first Test and his fellow Umesh Yadav was ruled out after the second. Ravichandran Ashwin missed the deciding Test with an injured back and when pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out, India was left with one of its least experienced Test bowling attacks.
“They cut out the white noise identified the areas that needed addressing, zeroed in on the personnel that could implement the brand of cricket they wanted to portray. The first session of the second Test at the MCG sent out a clear signal – Adelaide is behind us. What stood out was the determination of each individual, established or rookie, to make a contribution. This wasn’t a one-man army, which is why there have been multiple heroes-from the pedigreed Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, and R Ashwin to the fledgling Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Hanuma Vihari, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, and T Natarajan,” Laxman opined.
Mohammed Siraj, who made his Test debut in Melbourne, led the attack in just his third Test. He was supported by Shardul Thakur, in his second Test, and Thangarasu Natarajan on debut. Debutant Washington Sundar performed exceptionally well with bat and ball. The inexperienced Indian attack achieved what the vaunted Australian bowling unit couldn’t do at the Gabba, take 20 wickets.
“There was the clarity of thought in decision-making, both from the management group and from the captain and the players. These decisions were made with the team’s framework in mind, never mind if they weren’t always conventional. The defining moment for me was the Washington-Thakur stand at the Gabba in the first innings, under pressure on a difficult pitch against a world class attack. It debunked the myth that we have been besieged by the T20 generation. Of all the life-lessons, this was the most significant – desist from being judgmental,” Laxman signed off.