Shastri, the Wordsmith
Ravi Shastri has always been a silver-tongued cricketer and broadcaster, few would not remember his parting shots when Dhoni hit the winning six in Mumbai during the 2011 World Cup.
Shastri, true to form therefore gave a memorable, emotional speech – his last – to the Indian players in the dressing room before signing off as the head coach of Team India, in a game against Namibia, which also saw the end of Virat Kohli’s captaincy in the T20 format.
India exits the T20 World Cup
India beat Namibia by 9 wickets in their last T20 World Cup match on Monday in Dubai, but failed to qualify for the knockout stages as Pakistan and New Zealand went ahead in the semi-finals from Group 2. India suffered major losses to both those teams, which all but dissolved their chances of progressing through the tournament, even as they handed defeats to Afghanistan and Scotland handsomely.
BCCI shared the video of Shastri’s speech on its social media handle.
Shastri’s Tenure As Head Coach
Shastri who had confirmed that he won’t continue as India’s head coach after the World Cup, termed the Indian side he coached as ‘one of the greatest sides in the world.’
“You guys as a team have over-exceeded my expectations with the way you’ve played. Over the last few years, you went across the globe, across formats and beat everyone. This makes you one of the great teams that has played the game. Not only a great Indian cricket team… This will go down as one of great teams that has played the game over the five-six years across all formats. The results are there to be seen,” Shastri said in his speech.
Under Shastri’s tenure India beat Australia in Australia twice in Test series, the second including the historic win at the Gabba, when a team missing most of the biggest stars, trumped Australia at its fortress after decades to win the second successive series Down Under. India have also led England 2-1 in England and won limited-overs matches, series overseas under Shastri.
Shastri’s Regrets And Ambitions
Shastri agreed that not winning an ICC tournament, the most recent of which, being the final of the World Test Championship, which they lost to New Zealand, apart from the current T20 World Cup exit, did rankle but added that the cricketers will get more opportunities in the future to make good on that.
“Yes, we did not have a great World Cup. We could have won ICC tournaments. But you will get another chance. You’ll be wiser, you’ll be more experienced when the next opportunity comes,” Shastri thundered in an inspirational atmosphere in the dressing room as all the Indian players were rapt in attention.
The former India all-rounder also applauded Team India for fighting through the COVID-19 challenges, when he himself along with staff had grappled with the disease, adhering to strict bio-bubbles in various countries while still turning up stellar performances, and competing against all odds.
Team India’s Future
“In life, it is not about what you accomplish, it is about what you overcome. That overwrites everything else. So what you have gone through in the last two years with COVID and the hurdles that have come, you overcome everything and have been prepared to compete. That is the best thing I like about this Indian cricket team,” Shastri said.
In the end of the video, Shastri could be seen hugging and greeting all the supporting staff and players.
Shastri will be replaced by former India captain Rahul Dravid as the Head Coach. The home series against New Zealand, starting on November 17 will be Dravid’s first assignment.
BCCI is likely to announce a new T20I captain as well, as Virat Kohli steps down.
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