DUAL INTERVIEW – 11 – BGT (2020-21) (2)
J – Thank you for your participation in this Dual Interview, we have just witnessed a historic test series victory, and one of the best test series played since the Ashes 2005, your thoughts on the series that went by?
Nikhil – Completely agree. This is for the ages, no words, no writing will ever do justice to what this team has managed to achieve. It’s just too good to be true to be very honest.
@internetumpire – Thanks for having me again. This is probably the best overseas test tour for India I’ve ever witnessed live. I don’t think I can put it in more simpler words.
J – Let’s talk about Australia first, what went wrong for them in your view?
Nikhil – I think they found that India had more heart for a fight and raised their game. For Australia, it happened with only Marnus and Cummins. India found heroes doing smaller but key roles throughout the series, didn’t happen with Australia. Not enough support to the two mentioned above and Smith in the last two Tests.
@internetumpire – Even Smith and Warner were back, the only reason why the last tour was frowned upon. This is probably the best test team Australia have put together in recent times. The way most Aussies showed the frustration in their faces tells you how involved they were to bring the trophy back home. So yes, they have given their all in this series.
J – Few words for the effort that Pat Cummins (Man Of The Series) put in during the entire test series?
Nikhil – I think he’s on the way to become a legend of this game. To come back from injury and turn into a beast that can bowl 145+ all day with discipline and control – machine.
@internetumpire – Even when most of their bowlers looked mediocre, he kept coming in relentlessly, picking wickets at regular intervals, keeping his team alive throughout the series. Only one who made us all hold our breaths whenever he was taking his stride. That’s how good he was.
J – In terms of positives, what can Australia take from here?
Nikhil – Just Green I think, they should be devastated with these results. They got nothing out of the series, just more proof that they rely on Marnus, Smith too much and same with Cummins and Hazlewood. The pool has to be bigger, something India proved them.
@internetumpire – “Better than smith” was actually looking better than smith in this series. Labuschagne was the only batsman who seemed consistently good for them in the whole series so I wouldn’t just say he was looking threatening only in the second half. Steve Smith looked pretty ordinary after the standard he has set himself. I expected him to dominate more than he did.
J – Thoughts on Tim Paine’s performance in this series?
@internetumpire – Tim Paine deserves major credit for making the whole series interesting. Everyone were complaining of how soft the players have become which made the whole tour boring, until Tim Paine happened. He scored 200+ runs at an average of 40 which is more than just good for someone who bats at his position and for a wicket-keeper as well. He should be appreciated for taking on the job when CA was at it’s lowest. Maybe one more series to test his captaincy? But that’s unlikely from their standpoint.
J – Coming to this Indian team now, how proud are you of this effort from the team and the character that they have shown after being 36-9 in the first test?
Nikhil – I can only join my hands to thank them for this. I have not seen anything like this ever. This is more due to the context of injuries and missing players. It’s just crazy how they found the depth in the fight even with all that happened.
@internetumpire – This series will be long remembered for how resilient we were throughout. This team will be a prime example for every sports fraternity on how you don’t need to be a big name, you just need to believe in yourself.
J – Your thoughts on Rahane’s captaincy post-Kohli’s maternity leave and also on his batting?
Nikhil – I think India always had plans in place much before. It was the execution and then the guidance to ensure nothing distracted them and Rahane was his usual, ensuring there was enough intent shown whenever needed with both bat and ball.
J – How crucial was that third test match draw for us?
Nikhil – That was massive, without it you are looking at India chasing the series and not Australia. A draw is critical, not many get it but it is a positive result, it tired the Australians down. They have now gone what, almost two Day 5 bowling efforts without much to show for it, that’s a big Win.
J – Your thoughts on Pant’s intent shown in the third as well as the fourth test?
Nikhil – Always been a fan of Pant. The guy has great potential to be a star. As I have often said, his shot selection is what will define his legacy, never an issue with his quality.
J – If you had to sum up this test series in a nutshell, how would it be?
Nikhil – A fairytale? A life? It’s hard. I cannot find words to do justice to this effort. I only have a sense of gratitude towards them for doing this. It’s a life lesson, you must never stop fighting, your processes will lead you to better results, if not immediate ones.
J – The player of the series went to Pat Cummins and very rightly so because he deserves it, if you had to give the player of the series to an Indian, who would it be and why?
@internetumpire – It would be Shubman Gill for me. Everyone talked about how pant won us the decider but gill top-scored in the same innings at an equal strike rate at the top and also was consistent throughout the series.
J – What is the biggest takeaway for India this series?
@internetumpire – The fact that how cricket has evolved so much that it’s a literal crime to have a specialist wicket-keeper anymore. A Wicket Keeper should also justify his spot in the batting line up.
J – Your player ratings for following players:-
Australia: Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green
I would simply rate Cummins above everyone. Marnus, Josh and Smith second and the rest on the same pedestal. Poor Starc has missed some easy wickets of the tail. But they may play Afghanistan or Sri Lanka soon, so no worries.
India: Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj
Very hard to rate them because of their role. I would categorise Gill, Pant, Ash, Jadeja, Bumrah, Siraj all in one and the rest in one. Everyone played a key role from Vihari to Rohit to Saini to even Thakur 🙂
J – Create a combined XI with players who have played exceptionally this series.
Ajinkya Rahane (c)
Rishabh Pant (wk)
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