Ravi Shastri wants to forget this match, but remember the series
Former India coach Ravi Shastri has had a glorious run, leading a talented bunch of youngsters under Virat Kohli – first in 2017 and again in 2019– but there is one match he would like to forget at the earliest.
The first-ever Day/Night Test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval saw the Indians getting bundled out for just 36 runs in the second innings and eventually losing the match. It was India’s lowest-ever Test score. Speaking to The Week, the celebrated head coach said, “The 36 all out was the lowest point. We had nine wickets in hand [overnight] and then we were bundled out for 36. All that had to be done was to score 80-odd more runs. We were all numb. We were in a state of shock for days. How could that have happened?” Shastri said it was his toughest day as the coach of Team India.
At the Adelaide Oval, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins floored the famed Indian batting line up, but the team bounced back to win the series 2-1. Shastri termed this particular tour of Australia as “an achievement that he will live with for the rest of his life”.
On how he communicated with the team after the Adelaide loss, Shastri said: “It was not just me. I would be the first to put my hand up and say I was the one responsible, take the brickbats; there is no place to hide. I told the boys to focus on what they could do. The boys were unbelievable. One month after that 36 all out, on January 19, we had won the series. I am still thinking, how did that happen? I promise, as long as I live, people will talk about that series win.”
Together, Shastri and Kohli took Indian cricket to great heights, especially in Test cricket. Under Shastri’s guidance, India became the number one Test team in the world and retained the top spot from 2016 to 2020. No wonder, India reached the final of the inaugural World Test Championship final in June this year before losing to New Zealand. India, however, could not repeat the stint in the 50-over or T20 format. India did not win a single ICC trophy when Shastri was at command. At best, India made it to the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup in England.
Under Shastri, India won 25 of 43 Tests, 51 of 76 ODIs and 42 of 65 T20Is.