India’s historic win against the Australian cricket team at Gabba during the Border-Gavaskar series has resulted in a flood of emotions from fans all over the world. While Indians are obviously overjoyed, our neighbour and cricket rival, Pakistan, has also shown immense support and appreciation for the Men in Blue.
One of them is former Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar. Since his retirement, the bowler has had a successful career as a YouTuber where he discusses all things cricket. In his latest episode, he praised the Indian team for their astonishing performance at Gabba, and the rest of the matches in the series.
He credited the win to the Indian cricket system that has invested all their resources in the last twenty years to get the team where it is today. From Ravi Shastri to Rahul Dravid, he acknowledged everyone’s input towards creating this winning team.
“I was thinking about the reasons behind India’s win at Gabba. They won because of the investment they made 20 years ago. These kids that came solidified India’s bench strength. This investment is paying back to India,” he begins the video. He added that IPL and collaborating with international players allowed the young players to get exposure and gain confidence in their game.
But more importantly, it was Dravid’s grooming of the younger players as well as Shastri’s decision to let the youngsters be in their truest forms that led to the victory.
He called Dravid the “best Test player ever produced in the country.” Dravid was in charge of the Academy where the current young members of team India trained and became masters of their skill and art.
He credited Dravid for creating the U-19 team that would one day go on to defeat Australia in their “fortress” where they were overtly confident they could never lose. He said Dravid didn’t spoil the kids and instead groomed them to become winners.
He said the team off-the-field is the one responsible for the win on the field.
“Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Siraj, Gill, Pant, Mayank Agarwal – these youngsters did not see what was happening around them, and just played their game and won the match.” It was Shastri’s faith in them that allowed the team to win against all odds, with important players injured, and a racial attack from the opposing team.
“They brought solid, honest hard workers, and people who were not in it to make money,” he said about the current bench strength. The leaders who created this team of players who truly cared about the sport of cricket were Dravid, Shastri, and Saurav Ganguly, according to Akhtar.
He called Rishabh Pant “fearless”. But then he goes on to ask where does he get the confidence to shed all his fears? The management, he answers his own question.
He also said that teams were ultimately made in dressing rooms. If the management allows them to play freely and creates an environment where their skills are nurtured, you get a winning team.