India head coach Ravi Shastri was beaming with confidence after his team completed a 3-0 series rout of South Africa with their massive innings and 202-run victory in the third Test in Ranchi on Tuesday.
India outclassed South Africa across departments and Shastri was effusive in his praise for the way the bowlers and batters combined to put up a dominating show. In the series opening first Test in Vizag, India won by 203 runs before successive innings victories in Pune (an innings and 137 runs) and Ranchi.
Out of the top-five wicket-takers across the three Tests, top four were Indians including Ravichandran Ashwin (15), Mohammed Shami (13), Ravindra Jadeja (13) and Umesh Yadav (11).
“Our philosophy has been bhaad mein gaya pitch (to hell with the pitch),” Shastri said after the match. “We need to take 20 wickets and it doesn’t matter if it’s Mumbai, Auckland, Melbourne, anywhere. Once we have taken those 20 wickets, our batting, once it gets going is like smooth-running Ferrari.”
Shastri also lauded middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane who scored his first Test hundred in over three years. “Ajinkya Rahane was always there in the middle order, he only needed to rediscover, which he did,” Shastri said.
Rohit Sharma’s 500-plus runs in four innings earned him the man-of-the-series award and Shastri said the opener isn’t fazed by challenging conditions. “Rohit is different class. As an opener he needed to have a different mindset, he acclimatised. It was a difficult pitch to start with but usne jhela (he overcame that). He has it in him to be unfazed by difficult conditions. What he has done in this series is tremendous,” he said.
Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, who made his debut after being asked to join the squad a day before the Test, also impressed with four wickets in the Test. “Extremely impressed. Yesterday when he (Nadeem) got his first wicket, I was saying ‘If Bishan Singh Bedi was watching, he would’ve said ‘cheers young man’. It was a spinner’s delight. To watch it from the outside was classical. (He has) 420 plus wickets (in domestic cricket), the guy has put in the yards, about time he gets the distance. Glad he finished off the game. In front of his home crowd…what was remarkable was the way he started. There was no nerves, first three overs were maidens. Every ball was on the spot. That’s because of his experience,” he said.
He added, “It’s a team effort. A captain who leads from the front. You have opening batsmen who got double hundreds. Middle-order batsmen got hundreds. Normally in India, you have two players who hog the limelight. Here we’ve had six or seven payers. This is going well, enjoy,” he said.