New Delhi: India coach Ravi Shastri said Friday that they didn’t lose the Test series to a collective effort from England but to all-rounder Sam Curran’s individual brilliance which became the difference at crucial junctures.
India lost the five-Test series 1-4 but Shastri put up a brave front making it clear that the final scoreline did not depict the kind of fight Virat Kohli’s men put up.
“I would not say (we) failed badly. But we tried. We must give credit where it is due. Virat and me were asked to pick the man of the series (for England) and we both picked Sam Curran. Look where Curran has scored, and, that is where he hurt us. More than England, it was Curran who hurt us,” Shastri was quoted as saying by cricket-specific website.
He then pointed out the phases during the Test matches when the talented all-rounder took the game away from India.
“In the first Test, England were 87 for seven (in the second innings) at Edgbaston, he (Curran) got the runs. In the fourth Test, they were 86 for six (first innings) in Southampton, he again scored. We were 50 for 0 (first innings) at Edgbaston, he got the wickets. So at crucial stages in this series, he chipped in with runs and wickets. That was the difference between the two sides,” Shastri explained.
Asked if he was distracted by criticism, Shastri said: “Absolutely not. (I would be the) last one to press the panic button when I see so many positives. I head back home with a very positive state of mind. I know exactly what we do, where the team is heading – it is heading in the right direction.”
I am never bothered by criticism. Look at how this team have performed overseas in the last four years. We have won nine Tests. It’s just that we have won a series. It will happen soon
There had been a lot of criticism of team’s performance but Shastri remained unperturbed. “People are entitled to their opinions. As long as we know we are honest in the job we are doing jobs, as long as support staff we are helping players channelise their energies in the right direction, we are not worried about what critics say,” Shastri asserted.
“We know what this team have done in the last three to four years, this team have won nine Tests overseas,” he added.
Shastri has now requested the BCCI to arrange for a couple of practice matches before the Australia tour kicks off. He is not averse to the idea of playing practice games. “Absolutely not. Why would we be? You can only see the results (in the England Tests). Every time after the second Test we have improved,” he stated.
“The problem however is whether we will have the time to play practice games in Australia. As it looks, it is a very crammed schedule,” he added.