Given the added risk of fatigue and injury in the ‘bio-bubbles’ needed to host international matches during the coronavirus crisis, teams have been allowed to have larger traveling teams.
Most Indian players have been in one bubble or another, with only small breaks since the Indian Premier League in September.
“You had to dig deep and pick your top 30 players. It’s a headache to have,” Shastri told reporters.
“It worked out well, you would never have imagined how many players would have played for India six months ago.”
All-rounder Washington Sundar and paceman T. Natarajan spent a long time in Australia as part of the touring team, and have since made dreamy debuts in their Test careers.
“If you think Natarajan would have played a Test, no way. Would Washington Sundar (have) played a Test, no way. But circumstances make it happen,” Shastri said.
“And I’m glad the young people who had the opportunity grabbed it with both hands.”
New talent from India played a key role in helping the team reach the World Testing Championship final against New Zealand in June.
Sundar took a hard hit with Shardul Thakur – another lucky bowler with a Test Down Under – in the historic Test of India series triumph in Brisbane and proved his mettle again with an unbeaten 96 against England on Saturday.
Axar Patel made most of his England series debut with 27 wickets in three matches after replacing injured Ravindra Jadeja.
Shastri praised the new players for playing “fearless cricket”.