New Delhi: India whipped South Africa in the limited-overs leg of the South Africa tour and coach Ravi Shastri said the turnaround was possible because Virat Kohli & Co stuck to their task even when no one gave them a chance after losing the first two Tests.
Talking to mid-day, Shastri explained how the team huddled up at the end of the second Test, chalked out a plan and went into the third Test with an intent to win. And they never looked back from that point on, winning the ODI series 5-1 and the T20I series 2-1.
"We always believed we could win. Very few people saw it, but we could have won both those games (first two Tests)," Shastri said. "Sometimes you feel in your country, people are happy when you lose.
"We pulled out a calculation where we looked at sessions and we were just two sessions behind and those cost us two Test matches. I said, take the positives out of that and go into the next Test match to win — not to draw — to win! Not many teams would have batted first on that (Johannesburg) track. It was a nasty one.
"What I am very proud about is that the boys fought on each of the 21 days of cricket there which is unreal for an Indian team on any tour for that matter. Every day they had a chance. Out of 12 matches, we won eight. What can one say? You've just got to give the boys credit," the coach said.
Shastri, however, was worried about the scheduling that keeps players on the road for most of the year.
"(It's a) Big worry. I feel for the players and that is why we have rested so many for the Sri Lanka series (three-nation T20I tournament). They are human. In our country, the expectations are so high that you have to win in whatever format you play," he said.