“His keeping was the best I’ve seen”, says India’s Test captain
Pant hit 185 runs at a strike rate of 120.12 throughout the series.
“His batting is his batting. We know how he bats and as a team we just want to give him that freedom to bat in the way that he wants to bat. But also keeping in mind certain situations of the game, where the game is going, we have also conveyed that to him, but we want to stick with his game plan as a team. It just seems to get better and get better – his game plans.
“There will be times when you will smash your head and say ‘why did he play that shot’ but again we need to be ready to accept that with him when he bats. And he is somebody who can change the game in 40 minutes.
“And the most significant factor of his in this series was his keeping. His keeping was best that I have seen. He kept well when England came last year and he seems to get better every time he keeps wickets for India, so that is something that I have been very impressed with.
“And also the DRS calls, seems to be making the right calls. DRS, we all know – it’s like a lottery. I have made it very clear with Rishabh what I want. There are certain aspects of the game that I have told him to look into and that’s about it. DRS calls are not something you will always get it right. There will be times when you will be making wrong calls. But that’s absolutely okay.”
Although both Mohali and Bangalore surfaces were spin-friendly, the bowler who emerged with the best average from this series is Jasprit Bumrah, whose 10 wickets came at an average of 9.0 exactly. He was especially impressive in the first innings in Bangalore, where he took 5 for 24.
“To come out and bowl like that in these kind of conditions shows how much skill and ability he has. Someone like Bumrah, he’s never out of the game whatever the conditions are. He’s always in the game and it gives the captain a lot of benefits, to rotate and get the best out of each bowler when you have quality like Bumrah in the team. He understands the conditions really well.
“To bowl on certain pitches, you need certain skillsets. And he seems to bringing those skillsets into the game depending on what sort of assistance he has from the pitch. In Mohali we saw a different sort of pitch and he was still effective. This was a different kind of pitch. it was turning and bouncing and everything was happening for spinners. If there’s any lateral movement, he’s always in play.”
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf