VVS Laxman hails Team India’s magnificent season, calls Rishabh Pant “undisputed star of the show”

Team India lost only one out of the six series they played Australia and England in the last five months.

Team India won a historic Test series in Australia earlier this year | GettyBatting legend VVS Laxman on Wednesday (March 31) hailed the Indian cricket team for their outstanding performance in the last five months.

After a lengthy COVID-19 hiatus, India’s international assignment returned with the tour Down Under, where the team won the T20I and historic Test series after going down in the ODIs.

Subsequently, Team India defeated England in all forms of the game at home.

"The adrenaline rush following India's most memorable season continues unabated. From Australia in November to Pune in March has been an emotional rollercoaster, the magnitude of India's accomplishments highlighted by extenuating circumstances. Despite having been part of bio-secure bubbles myself, I can't even imagine what the players have had to endure over the last eight months - starting with the IPL - as they have flitted from one bubble to another," Laxman wrote in his column for the Times of India.

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Team India had copped a lot of criticism when they got bowled out for 36 during their 8-wicket loss in the opening Test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval last December.

Furthermore, regular skipper Virat Kohli returned home on paternity leave after the first Test while a number of key players picked up injuries through the course of the series.

Despite the setbacks, the visiting team under Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy bounced back brilliantly to register a 2-1 series victory with emphatic wins in Melbourne and Brisbane.

"The highlight of the season has to be the Test series win in Australia. To me, that will remain India's greatest Test series triumph. To bounce back the way they did, especially after the Adelaide meltdown and without their captain for the last three Tests against a full-strength Australian side in their own backyard was a little short of extraordinary. Significantly, the result was fashioned by a host of young guns and newcomers, which augurs well for the future," Laxman added.

The former India batsman also hailed wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant for his stellar performances against Australia and England.

Pant played match-winning knocks of 97 and 89* in the third and the fourth Test against Australia to help India clinch the Border Gavaskar Trophy. The southpaw also played a key role in India’s 3-1 Test series win over England at home, scoring a dazzling century in the fourth Test at Ahmedabad.

Thanks to his brilliance in the longest format, Pant also made a comeback to the white-ball side and registered knocks of 77 and 78 in the two ODIs he played against England.

"The undisputed star of the show, across formats, has to be Rishabh Pant. His growing maturity and situational awareness manifested itself each time he batted. Equally significantly, I am amazed at the grand strides he has made as a wicketkeeper, especially on difficult pitches at home against England during the Tests when he was scarcely troubled by appreciable turn and unpredictable bounce," Laxman opined.

Laxman lauded Virat Kohli and his men for their limited-overs series wins against the No. 1 ranked England side.

While the Men in Blue won the five-match T20I series 3-2, they secured the ODI series 2-1.

"India can also take pride in their conquest of England in both white-ball formats. To tame the world's top-ranked side on flat pitches despite losing seven of eight tosses speaks to the character and resilience of a team that has clearly been massively influenced by the infusion of positivity from head coach Ravi Shastri. A welcome development is flexibility in the batting order and Virat Kohli's sustained willingness to bat out of his comfort zone," Laxman wrote.

(With TOI inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 31 Mar, 2021

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