Though the 2-0 sweep over Bangladesh gave K.L. Rahul his first series victory as the Indian Test captain, the skipper didn’t have a great time with the bat, averaging only 14.25 across four Test innings — 22, 23, 10 and 2 — which don’t make for great reading.
Apart from him, talismanic batter Virat Kohli also had a lean run in a series where the top four didn’t click in unison.
“We don’t obviously go into the game thinking about what we have done previously or thinking what might happen next. We want to give it our best in every opportunity we get, and want to grab it with both hands.”
“After playing a few Test matches, and after being recognised — when the team is looking at you to perform and get the team through to you, with an added responsibility to do well and that is what is going on in the mind,” said Rahul in the post-match press conference.
Post Rahul getting 123 against South Africa at Centurion in 2021, his consistency in Test cricket hasn’t been there. Granted that he hasn’t played any Tests at home since 2018, one would surely doubt if he will be in the squad for the four Tests at home against Australia in February next year.
“You want to give it your best and that never changes, whatever the format is. You want to perform for your team, and country and go out there to do the best you can. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. But at least I have seen some ups and downs in whatever cricket I have played and I know that neither of the things lasts too long.”
“You have to keep moving forward and keep trying to get better, improve yourself through your skill and just keep looking forward to the next challenge. When you play all three formats, it becomes a bit trickier to jump from one format to another. Personally, I haven’t played Test cricket in some time now.”
“It takes a bit of time to be in the groove and understand and get your mind back in doing the things you did right during playing time or doing well in Test cricket. That’s a challenge of playing at this level and playing all three formats is a challenge on how quickly you can adapt and take back your mind to do those things which you did right is the challenge.”
“That is what excites and performance in this series hasn’t been great. I accept that as I tried my best and it didn’t work. But I always look forward to what I can do better next time,” elaborated Rahul.
The Test series against Bangladesh also showed that India’s top order is a little shaky in playing spinners in spin-friendly conditions, something which even the most ardent of the fans would agree with. Whenever the top order has had a meltdown in the Bangladesh series, the middle and lower order have come together to save the Indian innings, something which will be noticed by Australia.
“We get out even in seaming conditions, as well as in spinning ones. At the end of the day, the batter will be getting out anyhow. If the ball or pitch assists spinners, then they will get you out. If the ball assists seamers, then they will get the batters out. If there is a pattern to which one is getting out, then you talk to coaches or do your homework on where the mistakes are happening and try to correct it and get better.”
“The coming four Test matches against Australia are very important at home. I am guessing that the pitches available will be very similar to what we got here, where there is some assistance for spin. It will be a challenge for us as batters to how we adapt quickly. Each player is different and they will have to find their own ways.”
“You let the individuals make their own choice and trust that they will prepare well and study what the pitch and conditions are and try to give your best. What the team expects from you, you give your best and what happens from there, it is in nobody’s control as you accept whatever comes.”
“Preparation and hard work are in our hands, we will do that and we will never be perfect. Playing against spin all the time for a month won’t guarantee us four hundreds against Australia as you can still get out. You need to prepare the best you can.”
“Whatever mistakes we made here and the experiences we had, it will come very handy in seeing where exactly our game is against spin and then you go back and have some time to work on your game,” concluded Rahul.