Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has lauded Team India for their stunning win against Australia in the Boxing Day Test at MCG. Shoaib praised stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane for leading India from the front to level the series 1-1 after humiliating defeat in the first Test at Adelaide.
During a conversation with Sports Today, Akhtar asserted that Indian players showed unparallel character under Rahane’s ‘cool’ captaincy.
“I watched the game, one fine morning, I woke up and I saw India were getting hammered by Australia. I thought it was 369 and not 36 for 9. But it was 36 for 9. But you know, characters are exhibited in crisis,” he said.
“The exhibition of character from the Indian team is tremendous. I think this guy is so quiet and so calm. Ajinkya Rahane doesn’t shout or do nasty things on the field, he just stays quiet and does his thing which is cool captaincy. Under his leadership, the guys suddenly performed,” Akhtar added.
Akhtar hailed Indian players for making a stunning comeback in the absence of star players like Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami. “Whatever you say about Ravi Shastri, Ajinkya Rahane and the team, India’s strength is not people who are playing on the field, it’s the bench strength. They seized the opportunity and went out there and performed,” Akhtar noted.
“Getting hammered in one Test and then coming back and winning the next Test comprehensively shows the character of the team and the management. And at the same time, people are out there to win the Test match,” he added.
The former Pakistan pacer wished to some more interesting clashes in the remaining two Tests in the 4-match series. The return of opener Rohit Sharma is sdefinitely going to add to the strength of Indian team in the third Test.
“Who would have thought 10-15 years ago that Australia will get hammered by India or Pakistan or some other subcontinent team? Now it’s happening. Now, I want to see this series full of clashes. I want India to win the series because they have made a great comeback. And they have shown a lot of character and great courage. Ajinkya Rahane’s hundred is just the turnaround,” Akhtar said.