DAYS AFTER former India coach Ravi Shastri blamed the team’s batsmen for the loss in the third Test against Australia in Indore last week, saying they were a “little complacent”, “little overconfident” and “overeager to dominate”, captain Rohit Sharma came up with an unusually strong response: “That’s rubbish.”
Sharma was responding to questions from reporters on the eve of the fourth and final Test of the series starting in Ahmedabad Thursday — India lead 2-1.
“Ravi himself has been in this dressing room, and he knows what sort of mindset we have when we play as well. It’s about being ruthless, not being overconfident… Honestly, when you win two games, if the people outside are feeling that we are overconfident, it’s absolutely rubbish, because you want to do your best in all four games,” Sharma said.
“You don’t want to stop by winning just two games. Obviously, all these guys, when they talk about being overconfident and all that, especially the guys who are not part of the dressing room, they don’t know what kind of talk happens in the dressing room,” he said.
Sharma said the team’s philosophy was not to give the opposition even the slightest chance to dominate and that he didn’t care what outsiders thought of their approach.
“Not to give any inch to the opposition when they are playing, especially when they’re touring abroad, and that is exactly what we have also experienced when we have toured outside. The opposition will never let you come into the game, never let you come into the series. And that is the mindset we have as well. We want to do the best in all the games. If it seems overconfident or anything like that to outsiders, it doesn’t really matter to us,” he said.
India won the toss in Indore and elected to bat but lost seven wickets in the first session and were bowled out for 109 with left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann taking 5 for 16. In the second innings, the home team did better to post 163 but set a target of just 76 resulting in a nine-wicket win for Australia. It was only the third loss in Tests at home in a decade for the Indian team.
While on air during the Star Sports broadcast of the Indore match, Shastri had said: “This is what a little complacency, a little bit of overconfidence can do when you take things for granted, you drop guard and this game will bring you down. I think it was a combination of all these things when you actually cast your mind back to the first innings, see some of the shots played, see some of the overeagerness to try to dominate in these conditions. You reflect back, take a step back or two to analyse.”
India have already retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for the series against Australia following the wins in Nagpur and Delhi. However, after losing the third Test in Indore, they have to win in Ahmedabad to guarantee a spot in the final of the World Test Championship.
Shastri’s tenure as head coach ended after India failed to reach the knockout stage of the T20 World Cup in 2021. He was in charge of the Indian team from 2017, a period during which they won two series in Australia, reached the World Test Championship final and were also ranked the No.1 Test team in the world.