Playing the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia within one week of the IPL‘s conclusion is going to be a huge challenge, India head coach Rahul Dravid said on Monday.
Virat Kohli slammed his first Test century in more than three years, after Shubman Gill’s sparkling 128, as India responded strongly to Australia’s stiff first innings total of 480 to draw the fourth and final Test and clinch the Border-Gavaskar series 2-1 here.
Just before the post-lunch session on the final day, news trickled in that Kane Williamson’s magnificent hundred sealed New Zealand’s thrilling two-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Christchurch, paving the way for India’s march to their second successive WTC final.
Terming it a “challenge”, the Indian head coach said they would have to plan it out properly.
“We just qualified at lunchtime today. I wasn’t counting my chickens before they hatched. We’ll celebrate this for starters,” Dravid said after the Test match.
“It is going to be a challenge. There’s going to be a lot of logistics involved given the IPL final is only a week before the WTC final. We’ll think about it.” The WTC final will be played at The Oval in London from June 7-11, while the IPL ends on June 1.
Regarding the Test series against Australia, Dravid was most impressed by the Indian team’s ability to fight back from extremely difficult situations.
“Whenever we were under pressure with our backs to the wall we had to respond and we always found that. It’s one of the heartening things about coaching this team,” Dravid told the official broadcaster Star Sports.
“Rohit led the way in the first Test with a brilliant hundred and it was bookended by Virat Kohli’s brilliant 186. In the middle we had performances from (Ravichandran) Ashwin, (Ravindra) Jadeja, Axar (Patel), Shubman there. I’ve probably missed out a few. I think our fight stood out.” India won the first two Tests in Nagpur and Delhi while Australia pulled one back in Indore as each of the first three matches of the series lasted two and half days on spiteful turning tracks.
But the pitch on offer for the series-deciding fourth Test was good for batting as Australia made full use of winning the toss to post a big total with centuries from Usman Khawaja (180) and Cameron Green (114).
“It was a really hard-fought series, there were moments where we were put under extreme pressure by a really good cricket team and we responded. Whenever we needed someone to step up and put in a special performance, we found it.”
Jadeja gives me freedom to be creative: Ashwin
R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja shared the Player-of-the-Series award. Veteran off-spinner Ashwin finished with 25 wickets and also scored 86 runs in the series, while left-arm spin-bowling all-rounder Jadeja accounted for 22 wickets and scored 135 runs with one half-century.
“It’s been a great journey together. We wouldn’t be the same without the other. He gives me a lot of freedom to be creative on the field with the ball. Credit to him. I thought he bowled beautifully in the Delhi Test. That’s why we’re here,” Ashwin said of Jadeja.
Jadeja said they have a great chemistry on the field and they always keep discussing about the game.
“We’re always talking about the wicket, what field we should have to particular batters. We’re always talking and discussing.” Jadeja however added he could have scored more runs.
“I’m not happy with my batting in the series. I missed on a few occasions. Especially in this game… Hopefully I’ll work harder and be more focussed on my batting for the next series,” he said.