The Indian team is in the right place, said skipper Rohit Sharma after the 1-0 series win over the West Indies and praised Mohammed Siraj for stepping up in the absence of senior pacers.
Siraj picked up his maiden Man-of-the-Match award in the traditional five-day game after grabbing 5 for 60 in the West Indies’ first innings of the second Test, which ended in a draw after rain washed out the fifth and final day’s play at the Queen’s Park Oval.
Set an imposing target of 365, the West Indies were 76 for two at the close of play on Day 4.
“We are in the right place. It’s about getting the job done,” Rohit said at the presentation ceremony.
Asked if Siraj is ready to spearhead the pace attack, Rohit said he is not looking for only one bowler to play the lead role.
“Siraj, I have been watching closely. He’s taken such a giant step. He has led this attack. I don’t want anyone to lead the attack. I want everyone to lead when they are having the ball in their hand. You want the entire pace battery taking the responsibility,” he said.
While rain seemed to have denied India, Rohit said his team remained optimistic as the host was required to bat last on a pitch which though hardly had any demons.
“Every win is different. Playing in West Indies has its own challenge. Happy with the way things went. We gave it a good shot, unfortunately, we couldn’t get any play today. We actually went out with a positive intent yesterday.
“Rain had its final say. We were quite confident. You know how difficult it is batting last. We always wanted that kind of score where we wanted the opposition to go for it. There wasn’t much on the surface. No play today, unfortunate for us.”
The Indian captain also lauded the efforts of centurion Virat Kohli and Ishan Kishan, who slammed a 34-ball 52 in the second innings before the declaration came about.
“You need guys like Ishan. We wanted quick runs, we promoted him, he wasn’t afraid. He was the first one to put his hand up.”
“In Test matches, you need guys who stabilise the innings like what Virat did, he played superbly. You need a mixture of everything. We have depth, we have got variety,” Rohit said.
Despite the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami not around, Siraj said he was never under any sort of pressure.
“This is my first player of the match award in Tests, very pleased. There wasn’t much help for the pacers. I kept my plans simple and executed.
“When you pick wickets in conditions like this, you get loads of confidence. Rohit bhai asked me to believe in myself, not take any pressure and enjoy,” Siraj said.
West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite, who saw his team surrender inside three days in the first Test in Dominica, said he was happy to see the batters lasting over 100 overs in the first innings.
“We showed some fight in this game with the bat. Bowling-wise, we can be more disciplined. It was a good comeback from the batters. We lost five wickets yesterday, that wasn’t good. Top-order batting 100+ overs is pleasing,” Brathwaite said.
“We were positive, we had 98 overs on a pitch that was relatively good. It (chase) was on. Unfortunately with the weather, we didn’t get a chance.
“Preparation is important. We need to bat for long periods against good teams. Some countries have club cricket going on,” he added.
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