Ravi Shastri, who two days ago was re-appointed as the head coach of the Indian men's cricket team, has pointed to the World Cup exit as his biggest disappointment since taking over as coach. He also emphasized that Team India will prioritize the Test Championships over everything else.
Despite the saga going on for months and months, it was always going to be inevitable for Ravi Shastri to continue as the coach of the Indian team. The World Cup exit and speculated clashes between senior players raised question marks over his future with the team, but on Friday, the CoA put all speculations to bed by confirming that the former Indian cricketer will continue to be the head coach of the team.
Speaking about his re-appointment, Shastri has revealed that the selection process was a rigorous one, with the committee throwing several questions at him, closely examining his presentation. He also went on to reveal that the primary interest of the committee was to hear out plans with respect to the future of both the team and individuals.
"The selection process was tough. They had their share of questions. There was a presentation that featured all aspects. Much as it (the presentation) was individual-specific. Data is something that got crunched a lot," Shastri told Times of India.
"For instance, over the last two years, India have won 71% of their matches across formats. There have been accomplishments, disappointments, learning curves. How to increase that margin, improve title-winning percentages, focus on individual growth - all of this weighs in as we look forward," he added.
The newly re-appointed coach also revealed that the World Test Championship will be prioritized over everything else, along with the two T20 World Cups in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
"There are two ICC T20 tournaments over the next two years, in 2020 and 2021. The Test championship cycle has begun, so that becomes top priority. We have a splendid Test side that's stayed at the top of the rankings and needs to keep up that good work. In T20Is, we need to take a fresh perspective and consolidate on the fabulous talent we have," he said.
Under Shastri's tenure, India won a Test series in Australia for the first time in their history, while also reaching the pinnacle of the ICC ODI rankings. However, more than anything else, the most notable achievement one could say has been the rise of youngsters such as Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. Shastri heaped praise on the spin twins, lauding them for their quick learning ability, while also hailing Ravindra Jadeja as the "best fielder in the world by a long mile".
"Age is on their side. They're a confident lot, very quick learners. They enjoy the game. Those are very important elements outside of the art of bowling and all of that, put together, has resulted in helping them grow. The way Kuldeep Yadav bowled in Australia was terrific," he said of the spin twins.
"These two aside, Ravindra Jadeja too has been part of a similar set-up and he has been phenomenal, not just with his left-arm bowling but batting and fielding. He's the best fielder in the world by a long mile," he added.
While India did see several highs during Shastri's previous tenure, there were also several low-points such as the 4-1 defeat to England, the 2-1 defeat to South Africa and the humiliating CT Final defeat at the hands of Pakistan. However, the Indian coach has singled out the team's exit in the World Cup semi-final as the biggest disappointment of his previous tenure, stating that the team had the cup in their hands before letting it slip due to a few bad minutes.
"I'll say the World Cup semifinal (as the biggest disappointment). Those 30 minutes changed everything. We were right there and then it all slipped away," he said.
"We played some very good cricket through the tournament. We won more matches than any other team, topped the table and that spoke of our dominance. But then, that's sport. One bad day, one bad session and it wasn't ours to go any further," Shastri signed off.
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