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With Ravi Shastri leaving the post of Head Coach of the Indian cricket team, one cannot look back on this era without Captain Virat Kohli. It’s a band that started years ago when Shastri was appointed as team director in 2014. This period was indeed one of the most difficult for Indian Cricket as the team of all sizes got a foothold under a tiring Dhoni. It was at this point that then BCCI president N.Srinivasan appointed Ravi Shastri as team director.
While Duncan Fletcher was still the Head Coach, the bond between Shastri and Kohli has grown ever since. Virat Kohli, who was both very passionate and expressive, often said that Shastri has always been a motivator in the team atmosphere. Shastri was appointed for a short period after the 2015 World Cup, but later Sanjay Bangar replaced him as an interim. However, Shastri was expected to take over completely, but it was Anil Kumble who threw his hat in.
Once the partnership between Kumble and Kohli turned ugly and the former had to end, it was only a matter of time before Kohli made his obvious choice for Ravi Shastri. Shastri’s return also raised expectations, especially because of the captain-coach relationship. Since then, we’ve had some nice series wins in a variety of formats, except for an ICC trophy that still eludes us to this day.
In a country with such passionate fans, the ICC trophy is the most important. But one cannot ignore the victories in different formats, especially in SENA countries (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) by this team, which has never been achieved before by any Indian cricket team. The Wanderers Test wins 2018 in South Africa after trailing 2-0 in the series, along with the 5-1 ODI series win there in the same series for the first time ever, the T20I series wins in England and New Zealand Zeeland, Test Series win in Australia in 2018-19, to the epic of the Australia Test Series 2020-21, where we came back to win that historic series after a humiliating loss in the first Test, are some of the key highlights.
The glory continued this year in England where we lead 2-1 in the Test series (series not closed due to Covid). The wins mentioned above are not just statistics, it shows the faith and character that has grown in the team over the years. As a result, we are now seeing more players rise even if the team’s superstars fail. If we look at the heroes of great victories in recent years, it is not just the Kohlis, Rohits, Pujaras, Ashwins and the Bumrahs, it is Siraj, Sundar, Gill, Vihari, Thakur, Chahal, Kuldeep, Deepak Chahar, etc .that win us matches all formats.
It’s interesting that we read Jasprit Bumrah’s name among other superstars as he is one too, but remember that he too has established himself in recent years. In a year or so, Mohammed Siraj may join Bumrah’s competition, who knows. That is the pace at which players grow in the Indian cricket team. We can discuss team selection, techniques, tactical mistakes, but these can always be worked out in a country that produces tons of great talent every year.
What Shastri and Kohli have brought is the changed attitudes of players coming in, their belief that they can do it at the highest level anywhere in the world and their mental toughness to face situations. The thought that these are the qualities that will propel Indian Cricket forward only gives me more confidence and pride as a fan. This team has made great strides under this duo and from here it can only go up. The World Cup is not far from our reach, but for now, congratulations Ravi Shastri on your great tenure as Head Coach, see you in the comment box.
Also read: SubscriberWrites: India’s system has failed, but the illusion of leadership lingers
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