Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has picked the biggest highlight of Ravi Shastri‘s tenure as Team India head coach.
Shastri served as the India coach for a period of four years, during which India reached the semis in the 2019 ODI World Cup and also made it to the final of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) but couldn’t win an ICC trophy. Shastri’s tenure was ended after the T20 World Cup 2021 in November, where Team India failed to qualify in the knockout stage.
Speaking about Shastri’s coaching career highlight, Gavaskar recalled the epic Australian series where Team India staged a magnificent comeback after the Adelaide horror and ended up winning the series.
Notably, India were dismissed for a mere 36 in the Pink-Ball Test against Australia last December to record their lowest-ever innings total in the history of Test cricket. Following the Adelaide Test, regular captain Virat Kohli had returned home for the birth of his child while other players started picking up injuries during the tour, which forced the Indian management to look at some standby players for the remainder of the series.
Despite all the odds, Team India did the impossible and registered one of the most memorable victories in their overseas tour. India first comeback in the second Test at Melbourne to tie the four-match leg 1-1. Then the third match at Sydney was ended in a draw. In the fourth and final Test, India defeated the hosts at the Gabba, where Australia had not faced defeat since 1988 and retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Gavaskar believed that Shastri played a huge role in motivating the India players after the embarrassing loss in the series opener.
“It has got to be the way India bounced back earlier this year after being dismissed for 36 (in Adelaide Pink Ball Test). Because when something like that happens, the team tends to lose belief in itself, there is a sense of disappointment, and there is a sense of giving up. And that is where Shastri played a huge role because from what I’ve read, is that he said that ‘you wear this 36 like a badge’,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.
“And then Ajinkya Rahane, the way he led the side in the three Tests, and of course everyone stepped up. We played almost like an A team, not even the regular team. But every player who played in that, every replaced player came in and did well. And that is again tells you the kind of influence and input that Ravi Shastri had on the younger players and the fringe players who are waiting for their opportunities,” Gavaskar added.