The playing XI for the 4th test match at the Gabba was India’s most inexperienced playing XI in a test since 2015, with an aggregate of 215 tests.
In fact, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were the only two players part of the Indian test squad who were able to play through the test series against Australia in 2020-21.
On the India tour of Australia, which officially kick-started on November 27 and finished on January 19, India had a long list of injuries. It was understandable as the team was going into the series without months of professional cricket. All they had behind them was a 2-month IPL in which the bowlers had to only bowl a maximum of four overs, and the batsmen did not have to bat for long durations.
This is why India were not in the best shape to head into one of the biggest test series that exist in cricket. Given that the tour consisted of 4 test matches, 3 ODIs and 3 T20s, it was good foresight from India to send such a large touring party.
There were several net bowlers in the squad as well, who were supposed to return to India after the white ball leg. However, the Indian team management decided to keep the likes of Washington Sundar, T Natarajan and Shardul Thakur back in Australia. One can only wonder what would have happened if India did not have these guys available to them!
Fighting one injury after another, by the time India reached Brisbane for the fourth and final test match of the series, they were struggling to put together 11 fit players on the park at the Gabba. As opposed to over 1000 scalps in the Aussie team, the Indian bowling attack had taken just 13 wickets in tests (Siraj 7 and Saini 4).
Those 13 wickets included two from Rohit Sharma, so they do not actually count, do they? India handed debuts to two players in the last match of the series – T Natarajan and Washington Sundar – both of whom did their job exceedingly well.
Earlier Shubman Gill, Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini were also handed maiden test caps. By the end, India had used up 20 players in the series. The last time the team had used up these many players in a test series was against Pakistan in 1960-61. All said and done, a 2-1 series victory is what really matters at the end.