'He showed guts and character': Sourav Ganguly hails India youngster's 'incredible' performance in Australia Tests
- BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has revealed that he was in constant touch with the players throughout the India vs Australia Test series.
India's Test series win in Australia will go down in history as one of their most cherished wins. Trailing the series 0-1 after getting bowled out for their lowest Test score and with Virat Kohli back home, India, under Ajinkya Rahane marked a roaring comeback to win the series 2-1 with an enthralling series win in the final match in Brisbane. The emergence of youngsters such as Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, Rishabh Pant and Shubman Gill made it possible for India to register their second straight Test series win in Australia.
In Melbourne, stand-in captain Rahane led from the front to win the Boxing Day Test. In Sydney, with India battling all odds, a heroic effort from R Ashwin, Hanuma Vihari and Pant helped the team escape with a draw. When the action moved to the Gabba – where Australia hadn't lost a Test match since 1988 – no one gave India a chance. But they still did the unthinkable chasing down 328 on the final day to cap off a historic series win a win.
Leading the chase was Pant, with a sizzling 89 not out, and Ganguly, who has been vocal in his support for the 23-year-old wicketkeeper, reckons it was a collective effort and revealed that he was in constant touch with the players throughout the series.
"I back the players, personally speak to them, listen to them. When they were in Australia, I would speak to the captain during every Test match. The results are because of the players. What Rishabh Pant did on the last day in Brisbane was incredible. He showed guts and character," Ganguly told Sportstar.
"The players relate to me because I have also played the game. Why can't I speak to them? It is my job. I am supposed to speak to my players. We don't hassle them. We are there to support them."
When India last drew a Test series in Australia, in 2003/04, Ganguly was the captain. This time around, he is the BCCI chief, which means that comparisons between the two generations are bound to happen. Ganguly dismissed drawing parallels between the two eras, explaining that while his time had a different vibe about it, what the current Indian team has achieved is equally big.
"These are two different generations. This is a superb phase. Beating Australia in Australia was a tremendous achievement. We drew with Australia in Australia, beat England in England and Pakistan in Pakistan," Ganguly added.
"We won in New Zealand, too. It was a glorious phase. This team is doing so well. I leave it at that. What happened in 2003 can’t be compared with in 2021. I was involved both times – captain and now the BCCI president."