Team responded well under pressure: Rohit

India won the five-match series by 4-1. (Source: BCCI/X)

After a new-look Indian team thrashed England by an innings and 64 runs in the fifth and final Test to win the five-match series 4-1, Rohit Sharma praised the youngsters for showing up following the defeat in the first Test in Hyderabad.

After losing the series opener, India bounced back in style and won four games on the trot, rounding it off at the picture-perfect HPCA Stadium in the Himalayan foothills.

The series finale was a one-sided affair as the match ended inside three days. Rohit, Shubman Gill, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Kuldeep Yadav starred for India. 

This series win is even more special as many of the first-choice players were unavailable. The Indian team management trusted the youngsters in the absence of a few senior players, giving maiden caps to five cricketers.

“These guys may be short of experience, but they have played a lot of cricket and I can stand here and see that these guys responded pretty well under pressure,” said Rohit at the post-match presentation. “Credit goes to the entire team and it was pleasing to see. When you win a series like this, we talk about scoring runs and hundreds, but it is important to take 20 wickets to win a Test. The way bowlers took responsibility was pleasing to see,” he added. 

Kuldeep played four Tests in the series, picking up 19 wickets. On the player’s rise as a Test bowler, Rohit said: “Kuldeep Yadav has shown a lot of potential. It was over a period of time that we had a conversation with Kuldeep. He bowled really well when the chips were down in the first innings, and after his injury, he came back and worked at the NCA. He is putting a lot of effort, and the most pleasing thing was his batting.”

Yashasvi Jaiswal was the standout batter with over 700 runs in the five Tests. “He’s got a long way to go. It’s amazing to be in this position. When a guy has got talent like that and can put pressure on the bowlers from the word go, there will be lots of challenges going forward. He is a tough guy and loves the challenges. Clearly, superb series for him and likes to score big,” said Rohit. 

Kuldeep won the Player of the Match award for taking seven wickets. “I just focus on keeping it on a good length, and that is very important for a spinner in this format and not thinking too much about what the batter is trying to do. I really liked my rhythm,” said the chinaman bowler. 

In the series against England, Kuldeep played a couple of crucial innings down the order. His improvement as a batter was there to be seen.

“Credit goes to the batting coach (Vikram Rathour). He helped me a lot. Not just the skill aspect, but also the mental aspect. Always backing me in the net sessions,” Kuldeep revealed.

Despite losing 4-1, Stokes noted the positives from the series: “(Zak) Crawley and (Ben) Duckett continuing their partnership at the top and (Shoaib) Bashir and (Tom) Hartley have been really exceptional the whole series, and (Joe) Root coming into form at the back-end is really exciting ahead of our summer.”

The only moment to celebrate for England came in the second innings, when James Anderson became the first fast bowler to take 700 wickets in Test cricket.

“700 wickets for a seamer is quite phenomenal. From the day he first started being a cricketer to where he is now, the desire and commitment are still there, and he is the fittest cricketer I have ever seen,” said Stokes.

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