India’s limited-overs vice-captain KL Rahul recently revealed that the Indian team looked at the remaining white-ball matches after their defeat in the first two ODIs as a new series, and it actually helped them stage a comeback. Australia took the ODI series 2-1 following which India won the shortest format by the same margin.
In a video posted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Twitter, KL Rahul revealed India’s secret to success and termed the white-ball leg a “learning curve” for all the players. He said:
“It’s never easy coming to Australia and losing two games and having to make a comeback…What we spoke after the first two one-dayers was that we are going to treat rest of the four games as a new series and try and win those four games.”
KL Rahul added:
“This ODI and T20s have been a learning curve for all of us. We were challenged in every game and it was important that we stick together as a group and keep believing in each other. We hope that we can improve and keep getting better as individuals and also as a team.”
On a personal front, KL Rahul had a mediocre performance with the bat. Apart from a valiant 66-ball 76 in the second ODI, the wicketkeeper-batsman managed scores of 12 and 5 in the remaining ODIs to finish the series with 93 runs from three games.
His batting chart also followed a similar trend in the shortest format. After a match-winning 51 off 40 balls in the opening T20I, KL Rahul got out for 30 and a duck in the next two games to amass 81 runs at an average of 27.
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— BCCI (@BCCI) December 8, 2020
The player who came off age for India was Hardik Pandya. The all-rounder impressed one and all with his batting efforts in both the ODI and T20I series, before being declared Man of the Series in the 20-over format.
Pandya, who scored 210 runs at an average of 105 in the ODIs and 78 runs at a strike-rate of 156 in the T20Is, brushed aside the accolades and threw light on India winning a series Down Under, courtesy of a team effort in which every player contributed in some way.
“I would like to dedicate this award to my son and my family back home because they have been a great support to me throughout…It has been an absolute team performance. I am happy to see that we have won the series where we haven’t seen any individual brilliance. Multiple people stepping up in different situations.”
The 27-year-old, however, gave away his prize to newcomer T Natarajan who finished as the highest wicket-taker (6 wickets at an average of 13.83) in the T20I series after picking 2 wickets on his India debut in the second ODI.
Pandya stated that the Tamil Nadu fast bowler is a source of inspiration for many people:
“Special mention of Natarajan as well. Coming from that kind of background, seen a lot of hardships. It has been a fantastic journey, lots of inspiration people can get from him. His success shows anyone can achieve anything if you believe in yourself.”
The focus will now shift to red-ball cricket as India lock horns with Australia in a four-match Test series, which starts with a pink-ball game at the Adelaide Oval on December 17.