India head coach Ravi Shastri, on Wednesday, defended his team despite the loss in the fourth England vs India Test which saw India lose yet another overseas Test series.
India’s batting once again flopped as they lost the fourth Test to concede the five-match series. Barring Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara to some extent, almost all the batsmen failed to provide any substantial contribution.
India needed to chase down 245 to draw level. At 123 for 2, they were looking set to chase down the modest target. However, once Moeen Ali accounted for Kohli, the remaining batsmen fell like a pack of cards. Eventually, the team was all out for just 184.
Even in the first innings, the visitors suffered a big collapse. They were 142 for 2 before Kohli’s dismissal triggered another collapse. They soon found themselves 8 down for 195. However, Pujara’s century helped them recover and take a slender 27-run lead. But in the end, the two batting collapses cost them the match as well as the series. The latest performance has only extended India’s woeful batting in overseas Tests.
Performances at Edgbaston, Centurion and Cape Town has made it clear that the batsmen need to improve by leap and bounds if India are looking to deliver outside their home.
However, Ravi Shastri was at his defiant best when he addressed the media on Wednesday. Instead of pointing out the mistakes of his team, he was quick to compare the current team’s record with the previous teams.
“The fact of the matter is that you had a chance. The scoreline says 3-1 which means India has lost the series. What the scoreline doesn’t say is that India could’ve been 3-1 up, or the scoreline 2-2. And my team knows it. They would’ve hurt, and rightly so after the last game, but this is a team that will not throw in the towel. It will come out there to compete and not look to be on the first flight home. Rest assured,” he said.
At the same time, the former allrounder said that the team now needs to learn how to close out matches.
“I think you’ve got to get tough mentally. We’ve run teams close overseas and competed. But now it’s not just about competing, we’ve got to complete games from here. And the endeavour is to learn, understand where you made mistakes, take it head-on, and try to correct it,” said the 56-year-old.
Shastri also pointed out the need of being mentally stronger as he spoke on the importance of finishing games.
“The endeavour of this team is to travel well and compete and win. If you look at the last three years, we have won nine matches overseas and three series. I can’t think of any Indian team in the last 15-20 years which has had that kind of a run in such a short period of time. And you’ve had some great players playing in those series.
“So the promise is there. It’s just about getting tougher mentally. You’ve got to hurt when you lose such matches because that’s when you look within and come out with the right kind of answer to combat such situations again and get past the finishing line. One day you will, as long as you believe,” he said.
The fifth and final Test will get underway on September 7 at The Oval.