Ravi Shastri’s tenure as head coach of the Indian cricket team comes to an end on Monday, as the Virat Kohli-led team plays its last Super 12 match of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup against Namibia in Dubai. It’s a rather disappointing end to an otherwise successful stint, as the ‘Men In Blue’ failed to qualify for the semi-final of the global event. Shastri, who took over from Anil Kumble in 2017, has presided over a period that has seen the Indian team do exceptionally well in Test cricket. India won back-to-back Test series in Australia, defeated West Indies and Sri Lanka away from home and dominated teams like South Africa and England in India. The team is currently leading the Test series in England 2-1, as the final match of the series will be played in 2022, after it was postponed due to Covid-19 related issues.
The win rate of the team in white-ball cricket was also great with several victories in bilateral series. But the team under Shastri’s watch also ensured a heartbreaking loss in the semi-final of the ICC World Cup in 2019 and in the final of the maiden ICC Test Championship in 2021.
Before the start of the match against Namibia, Shastri in an interview said that he wanted to “make a difference” when he had taken the job and said that he thinks he has achieved it.
“It (journey) has been fantastic. When I took this job, I said in my mind I want to make a difference and I think I have. Sometimes in life, it’s not all about what you accomplish, it’s what you overcome. And what these guys have overcome over the last five years, the way they have travelled across the globe and performed in every part of the globe in all formats of the game will make this – irrespective of what’s happened here – as one of the great teams in the history of the game. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind. It’s unfortunate that we are out of this tournament but that takes nothing away from a great side.” Shastri said.
Asked about the high points during his tenure and Shastri mentioned the performance of the team in Test cricket was something he cherished.
“Across all formats there are plenty. But winning in red-ball cricket across the globe – West Indies, Sri Lanka, Australia, England we are leading the series. It could be the longest lead in the history of cricket because the next Test is next year. To go across and beat all these sides every team in white-ball cricket – T20 or 50 over – we have beaten sides in their den which was my endeavour and team’s endeavour. We were always labelled as big bullies at home, but when you had to travel outside you didn’t have the goods. But this team has shown they have more and plenty of that,” Shastri said.
Asked about the appointment of Rahul Dravid as his successor, Shastri said that the former India captain will raise the bar.
“I think in Rahul Dravid they’ve got a guy who has inherited a great team and with his stature and experience it can only raise the bar. Virat has done a fantastic job as leader of the side, one of the best ambassadors of Test cricket. A lot of credit goes to him,” Shastri opined.
This was Shastri’s second stint in charge of the team, He had taken over as Team Director after India’s loss to England in the 2014 Test series and was in charge till the 2016 ICC WT20.
Shastri, in both his tenures, failed to guide the team to victory in any ICC tournament.
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