India made a disappointing start to the Australia tour, losing the first two one-dayers before bouncing back to win the last game. Virat Kohli and his men then took their form to the T20s and won the three-match series 2-1.
“It’s never easy coming to Australia and losing two games and having to make a comeback,” said Rahul, who besides keeping wickets also donned the hat of the vice-captain in the series in the absence of injured Rohit Sharma.
“What we spoke after the first two one-dayers was that we are going to treat rest of the four games as a new series and try and win those four games.”
Terming the just-concluded series “challenging”, Rahul said India were tested in every aspect of the game by the Australians.
“This ODI and T20s has been a learning curve for all of us. We were challenged in every game and it was important that we stick together as a group and keep believing in each other.
“We hope that we can improve and keep getting better as individuals and also a team,” he said in a video posted on BCCI’s twitter handle.
🎤 On the mic with #TeamIndia 🎤About match-winning performances and an all-round team effort, #TeamIndia reflect o… https://t.co/ouchOoarwz
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1607449077000
Hardik Pandya, who excelled with the bat in both ODI and T20 games and was declared player-of-the-series in T20s, dedicated the award to his son Agastya, who was born in July this year.
“I would like to dedicate this award to my son and my family back home because they have been a great support to me throughout,” he said.
“It has been an absolute team performance. I am happy to see that we have won the series where we haven’t seen any individual brilliance. Multiple people stepping up in different situations.”
Hardik, who was the third highest scorer in the ODIs with 210 runs and made 78 runs in the three T20s, was all praise for left-arm seamer T Natarajan, who made his India debut in the third ODI at Canberra.
“Special mention of Natarajan as well. Coming from that kind of background, seen a lot of hardships. It has been a fantastic journey, lots of inspiration people can get from him. His success shows anyone can achieve anything if you believe in yourself,” he said.
Washington Sundar, Sanju Samson and Manish Pandey, who will return to India as the tour now moves to the four-Test series starting December 17 in Adelaide, expressed happiness on finishing their tour on a winning note.
“I really wanted do well in a country like Australia. Winning two games against them is a good thing, especially we didn’t really start well in the ODI series. But we came well in the third ODI and T20s and I am very happy we have won the series,” Sundar said.
Samson said it was challenging to stay away from home for so long but everyone showed a lot of heart.
“We fought back really well after the two ODI losses. Great heart shown by everyone, the way we came back. Everyone is performing, everyone is in a great mindset after the challenging IPL.
Everyone is two-and-half months out of their homes, spending time in the bubble and coming here I think it’s really challenging.”
Pandey had special words of appreciation for Hardik and Natarajan for their efforts.
“They (Australia) were playing really well in the One-Day series but we came back well in the T20s. The guys have done really well, specially man-of-the-series Hardik and Natarajan. Really proud to go back on a winning note from here,” he said.