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How Ravi Shastri Impacted Indian Cricket

By NORMA ASTRID GODINHO
November 12, 2021 07:23 IST
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The back to back Test series wins in Australia must rank as Ravi Shastri's greatest achievement as India's coach.

Team Director Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli at a press conference

IMAGE: Then team director Ravi Shastri and Captain Virat Kohli at a press conference. Photograph: PTI
 

After helming the Indian cricket team in the capacity of head coach and captain, Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli's seven-year long partnership finally ended as the team was knocked out of the T20 World Cup,

This was a rare blip against the sheer volume of success that India has tasted under this magical duo.

Before the start of the match against Namibia, Shastri told Star Sports Commentator Ian Bishop that he wanted to 'make a difference' when he had taken the job and said that he thinks he has achieved it.

And he sure has as his record speak for itself.

The Shastri-Kohli collab began way before the Mumbai man got the top job of the team.

Shastri was Team Director from August 2014 to June 2016, a time where he enjoyed success around the globe.

It was a productive stint for the Indian team during which they won an overseas Test series versus Sri Lanka, reached the semi-finals of 2015 World Cup (knocked out by Australia) and the World T20 semi-finals in 2016 (beaten by eventual champions, West Indies).

IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kohli and Shastri during a training session. Photograph: Ashok Bhaumik/PTI

With Shastri as Team Director, India also won an overseas ODI series in England 3-1, this following a 1-3 loss in the preceding Test series.

India also convincingly claimed a Test series against South Africa 3-0 in 2015.

Following this series win, and later with England defeating South Africa, India perched themselves back at the top of the rankings in January 2016.

Under Shastri and skipper Kohli, the Indian team became a force to reckon with in Test cricket, holding on to the number one ranking in the world for 42 months from 2016 to 2020.

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IMAGE: Kohli congratulates England Captain Joe Root after the fifth Test at the Oval in 2018. India lost the Test series 1-4. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

After Shastri was appointed Head Coach in 2017 the Indian team truly blossomed and enjoyed unprecedented success.

Under Shastri, Team India played 43 Tests -- winning 25 and losing 13 and just 5 draws. It is testimony of the fact that the five-day format was held in esteem by both coach and captain.

Shastri also oversaw a 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka in 2017, the first time they achieved such a feat.

India's next big assignment was a tour to England in 2018 where India didn't perform to expectations. That was where Kohli started to find his mojo in Test cricket. In that five Test series he amassed 593 runs at an average of 59.3 and become the No 1 ranked player.

That tour also saw seamer Mohammed Shami turn the corner and make a mark away from home, taking 16 wickets in the series.

IMAGE: Shastri hugs Anushka Sharma as her husband, right, looks on to celebrate the Test series win against Australia in January 2019. Photograph: Mark Evans/Getty Images

By any measure, India's best moment came when they scripted Test history Down Under.

Under Shastri and Kohli, India became the first India team to win a series in Australia in 71 years in 2018-2019.

They were also the first Asian team to beat Australia in a Test series in their backyard. That Australia were without Steve Smith and David Warner, who were banned for their roles in the sandpaper ball-tampering scandal, but that was of no consequence for India were utterly dominant in the series where wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant came into his own and gave us the first glimpses of the talent that lay ahead in Test cricket.

IMAGE: The Indian team celebrates with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after victory over Australia on Day 5 of the fourth Test at the Gabba, in Brisbane, January 19, 2021. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Proving that that series win was no fluke, India pulled off an incredible encore in 2020-2021 for a second successive Test series triumph in Australia.

In the absence of Kohli, Shastri and stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane guided the team admirably as India defeated Australia to clinch the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for a second successive time.

IMAGE: September 1, 2021: Kohli and Shastri chat ahead of the third Test against England at the Emerald Headingley Stadium. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

India made it to the final of the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship under the Kohli-Shastri partnership. However, India lost the final by eight wickets, as New Zealand were crowned champions.

Shastri and Kohli also have a good showing in England this year -- India toured England for a five Test series in August. India lead the series 2-1 and the final Test at Old Trafford, that was suspended due to COVID concerns, will be played next year.

Photograph: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI

Under Shastri, Team India played 65 T20Is, winning 43, while losing 18. On his watch, played 76 ODIs, logging 51 wins and 22 losses.

Shastri's India were a dominant force in the shortest format even though they may have disappointed in the current T20 World Cup.

Shastri oversaw a 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka in 2017, the first time they achieved such a feat.

The Indian team poses with the trophy after winning the series against New Zealand 5-0 

IMAGE: The Indian team poses with the trophy after winning the series against New Zealand 5-0, February 7, 2020. Photograph: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

The following year, India went on to claim the Nidahas Trophy T20 tournament with Rohit Sharma helming the team.

Under Shastri's watch, in 2018 India also won a T20I series 2-1 in South Africa.

India then recorded a 5-0 series sweep against New Zealand in their backyard in 2020 after defeating Australia 2-1 in a T20I series on Australian soil in 2019.

India's success in T2OIs stretched further when the Kohli-led side defeated England 3-2 in the T20I series in March this year.

IMAGE: A triumphant Indian cricket team celebrates with the trophy after crushing Australia 4-1 in an ODI series in October 2017. Photograph: BCCI/Twitter

India also enjoyed success in ODIs, the most memorable one coming in South Africa in 2018.

Kohli finished with 558 runs, including three centuries in that series which India won 5-1.

Prior to that, India had defeated Sri Lanka 5-0 in August 2017 before defeating the inexperienced squad 2-1 when they toured India later that year.

In October 2017, India recorded a 4-1 victory over Australia.

Success followed India in Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies, all played after the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, where they were knocked out by New Zealand in the semi-final.

Their consistency was for all to see as their winning run continued well into 2021. The last big ODI series win coming against England earlier this year, with the 4th-ranked India winning the series 2-1.

It is expected that Rahul Dravid will slide into these big boots comfortably given his vast experience.

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NORMA ASTRID GODINHO

New Zealand Tour of India, 2021