Ravi Shastri has always meant business when he has spoken about the Indian team as a coach over the last seven years. His team may have imploded in his last assignment but he made it a point that the world knew this team has punched above its weight during his tenure.
“There have been changes since I came in as a team director in 2014. I would like to thank N Srinivasan (former BCCI president) for having more belief in me than what I had in myself in 2014. My aim was to grow world class players. If you ask me this team has over-achieved,” a quintessential chest-thumping Shastri said during the press conference after India had played its last match in the T20 World Cup on Monday. “I am not making any excuses. We didn’t have daring against New Zealand here. But the toss did play its part,” he added.
The twin Test series wins in Australia, being 2-1 up in the incomplete series in England and the multiple wins white-ball bilateral series around the world have lit up his resume.
“Fitness, standard of fielding and the hunger in this bunch of players make them not only a great Indian team but a great team in the history of the game. An ICC trophy is missing but they will get the chance in12 months,” he emphatically stated while adding: “This is a very emotional day for me. I am glad as I leave, I have left two missing parts out of ten from the time I took over. I wish Rahul Dravid all the luck to take the team forward and raise the bar.”
The team’s in-your-face culture has been its brand in the last six years and it has largely revolved around outgoing T20 captain Virat Kohli. Shastri prides in the culture he and Kohli have managed to create.
“We needed to trust everyone in the team. We made sure there will be no finger pointing and no senior-junior culture. The word ‘I’ had to be thrown into the dustbin. We needed to have each other’s backs. Virat embracing red-ball cricket and others following suit is a great thing,” Shastri claimed.
Multiple captains good move
With Kohli stepping down as T20 captain, Indian cricket will re-enter the phase of having split captaincy. Shastri opined that it could actually work given the perils of playing in bio-bubbles.
“Multiple captains is a good move with the bubble staying. Players need to be rotated. In Rohit, you have got a capable guy. He is ready in the wings. In T20 cricket, India will always be a strong team. We might not have won a World Cup but someday the rub of the green will go their way,” he claimed.
Plan breaks from bubble
Having endured the rigours of bio-bubbles for 15 months, Shastri asserted that the administrators need to plan better and give longer breaks especially before big tournaments like the World Cup.
“You have to factor in that these players have been in a bubble for six months. Can’t put petrol in the backside expect the player to move on. Even Bradman’s average would have come down. It’s not about what you accomplish but what you overcome. Sooner or later the bubble will burst. It’s not just BCCI but other boards from all around the globe need to see and ensure a longer gap before the teams play World Cups,” he stated.
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