India won the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia against a high-quality opposition, despite missing a majority of their key players.
Speaking to Sportskeeda’s Indranil Basu in an SK Live session, Saba Karim revealed that he always expected India to win. He said:
“When we went to Australia, I firmly believed that we are the favourites. It is a different matter that, after the first Test, everybody thought we would be blown away in Australia. But, I had immense faith not only in the regular players, but also on India’s bench strength. What really came as a pleasant surprise was the way India fought back in the third Test match in Sydney and, eventually, we managed to win in Brisbane without many of our regular players.”
Saba Karim went on to elaborate why he backed the team to do well even after they had lost most of their big names to injury. He continued:
“The kind of work that has taken place behind the scenes of Team India… Look at India A exposure tours, look at the U-19 set up and the number of times such young players have toured outside the subcontinent. All that gave us the impression that whenever such players will get an opportunity to play for Team India, they were eager to do well. And that’s what took place in Australia. I was really happy to see the youngsters come out and make a deep impact on this series.”
The standout aspect of India’s win in Australia was the bench putting their hands up and delivering.
According to Saba Karim, the combination of domestic cricket, India A tours and the IPL has put India in an envious position when it comes to unearthing talent. He said in this regard:
“The bulwark of Indian cricket is domestic cricket. It is not only about Ranji Trophy. It is about T20, it is about one-day cricket, it is about Cooch-Behar, U-19 one-day matches… Look at the kind of money that has been pumped in to improve the status of women’s cricket in India. All this augurs well for Indian cricket. India is in such a position that we can be a superpower in male and female cricket for years to come in all formats.
Saba Karim added that the youngsters in the team were well prepared to take on Australia as neither the conditions nor the players were unfamiliar to them.
“Many of the viewers may not know that most of these youngsters like Washington Sundar, Shubman Gill, Shardul Thakur and Rishabh Pant, all of them have toured Australia multiple times. So, they were aware of the conditions. They knew what to expect. Most of these have played against the Australians at the A level. They were aware of the kind of plan they would have in motion. They were pretty well prepared to tackle not only the Australian cricketers but also the conditions,” Saba Karim said.
The 53-year-old believes the kind of talent Indian cricket has is mind-boggling. Saba Karim also pointed out why the future of Indian cricket is extremely bright. He explained:
“Three important factors help you grow as a sporting nation – talent, resources and the kind of exposure we provide. All these three are in abundance in India in terms of cricket. I see no reason, from this stage, why we can’t conquer the world.”
— BCCI Domestic (@BCCIdomestic) January 31, 2021
Having stunned Australia, India are set to host England for a four-Test series next, starting from February 5 in Chennai.