“To hell with the nets,” was what Ravi Shastri said Monday after a memorable 31-run win in the opening Test against Australia, the India coach stressing more on resting his players. Having suffered back-to-back defeats in South Africa and England, India began the Test series against Australia in earnest, winning the opening match Down Under for the first time in over seven decades. Also Read - Virat Kohli Gives You The Space to do Your Thing: Harshal Patel Hails RCB Skipper After IPL 2021 Gets Suspended
“We lost the first Test in England by 31, lost the first Test in South Africa by 60-70, so this is a very good feeling for the boys to come out on top. When you get off to a good start, there’s belief,” Shastri said. Also Read - WTC Final: Milestones That India Skipper Virat Kohli Could Reach
The teams will be heading to Perth for the second Test that starts on December 14 and Shastri, who is confident that the fast bowlers will have a crucial role to play, hinted at ditching net practice ahead of the clash. Also Read - Cricket: Rahul Dravid Predicts 3-2 Scoreline in Team India's 'Best Chance' to Win in England
“They have to rest up, to hell with the nets. You just come there, mark your attendance and get away to the hotel. We know the Perth track is quick, it’s a drop in surface, there will be something there for the fast bowlers.” A collective performance by the four-man Indian bowling attack — pacers Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin — helped India earn 15-run first innings lead before they completed a rare win in this part of the world.
“The bowlers were brilliant in the first innings, defending 250, the discipline was magnificent. They’ve worked on it, it’s not come in overnight. As a bowling unit, when you show that discipline, it doesn’t matter which side you play against. You will be successful,” Sahstri said.
The coach also said he was hopeful that players had learned from their mistakes in the first innings and commended Man of the Match, Cheteshwar Pujara, for his knocks in both the innings.
“There was some rash shots played in the first innings, that was foolish cricket, but they learned from it. Pujara was absolutely magnificent, we’ve asked him to be a little more upright to counter bounce in these conditions.” On youngster Rishabh Pant, who equalled the world record of most catches in a Test by a wicketkeeper, dropping the catch of Nathan Lyon, Shastri said: “You have to allow him to play his game, but he has to be a little more sensible now.
“He did the hard work in getting Lyon to spread his fields, so he has to be smarter. You make a mistake now, but don’t repeat it, then I’ll be in his ears.”
(With PTI Inputs)