India cricket coach Ravi Shastri aims to author turnaround story
Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri was called up to shore up a demoralised team on the 2014 England tour and has since bonded with skipper Virat Kohli to raise high hopes on this tour.Updated: Jul 03, 2018 19:09 IST
When India last played at Old Trafford, in the fourth Test of the 2014 tour, they were a nervous wreck after being routed inside three days. A bigger humiliation awaited them in the next game at The Oval and the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side was vanquished 3-1 in the five-Test series.
But then began the story of India’s resurgence. It saw Ravi Shastri’s entry into the coaching role, and as India return to the Manchester ground, they have completed a highly successful four-year cycle.
In keeping with his personality, there have been some big controversies along the way for Shastri, but it’s also a period he can look back with pride. He has played a crucial role in transforming the team into a feared foe in all conditions.
As India lock horns with England over the next 10 weeks, they are well placed to avenge the humiliation suffered here in 2011 and 2014.
During India’s practice sessions at the Old Trafford ground ahead of Tuesday’s first T20 tie, as Virat Kohli and his star brigade worked on their skills, the presence of the India coach was very much felt.
He closely monitored the activity of every player, getting them ready for the battle of the season.
When India had last played at Old Trafford, Shastri was in the commentator’s box, observing first-hand as the team hit its lowest point. With India desperately seeking a change in fortunes after a second Test series rout in England in a row, the cricket Board sent an SOS to Shastri to take over the reins, as director of cricket. Though Duncan Fletcher was coach, Shastri took overall control immediately, making his presence felt in his inimitable, overbearing style.
The first thing he did was fill his boys with confidence and the transformation in performance started to take place. Routed in Tests, the Men in Blue were an inspired lot in the ODI series, winning 3-1.
Soon, the former India all-rounder was appointed full-time boss and the team hasn’t looked back since. It hasn’t been an easy ride either. In between, he was left in the wilderness for a year when BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee was given the authority to select the best candidate as coach and picked Anil Kumble. However, Shastri was back after last year’s Champions Trophy here.
CHEMISTRY WITH KOHLI
At the Old Trafford nets, Kohli, among the few batsmen to miss out on runs in the two T20s in Ireland, sought him out after a long hit. The two were locked in a long discussion over a technical point. It also highlighted the solid partnership formed between captain and coach. Seldom has a skipper trusted his coach so much as Kohli has and it is working well for Indian cricket.
Everything heading into the limited-overs phase has been built with focus on the 2019 World Cup to be played here. Shastri and Kohli know the importance of this series against England. It’s their best opportunity to set things right for the mega event.
First Published: Jul 03, 2018 18:06 IST