India’s cricketers were hailed around the world following their record-breaking win in Brisbane. India thrillingly achieved their 328 target with just 18 balls left on the final day to win the four-Test series 2-1, the highest successful run chase at Australia’s “Fortress Gabba”, where the hosts had been unbeaten for 32 years. India’s refusal to play for a draw, which would have been enough for them to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, was lauded. But what was also lauded was the bench strength of the side, since they had pulled off what was an amazing victory with many of their frontline performers missing.
A lot of the credit for India’s bench strength must go to former India captain Rahul Dravid, whose time with spent heading the U-19 team as well as overseeing the India A set-up is now finally reaping its benefits.
In fact, former Committe of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai had revealed that Dravid was approached to become the head coach of the national side but turned it down to continue working with youngsters.
“We definitely spoke to Rahul. He was engaged with the Under-19 team and he was involved with them. He had developed a road map on how to develop a team. He was bringing out fantastic results. He wanted to continue because he felt that there were some unfinished task with that team and he wanted to do it,” Rai had told Sportskeeda last year.
Since 2010, India ‘A’ team have played 52 first-class matches — the highest by any team in world cricket. That would explain why slotting into the Test side wasn’t a task for most players.
Mohammed Siraj has played 16 ‘A’ team matches, Navdeep Saini 14, Hanuma Vihari 12, Mayank Agarwal 10, Shubman Gill 8, Prtihvi Shaw 5 and Rishabh Pant 4.
Chasing a mammoth target of 328 on the final day of the match, that too at a venue where Australia had not tasted defeat in last 32 years, India rode on brilliant half centuries of Gill, Pant and Pujara to register one of India’s most historic win in Test cricket.
When India scored the winning runs, Pant remained unbeaten on 89, alongside Navdeep Saini at 0.
Pant, who shared valuable partnerships with Mayank Agarwal and Washington Sundar, fittingly scored the winning boundary as India became the first team to beat Australia at The Gabba in over 32 years.