'Gut-wrenching. When you're down…': Shastri on PM Modi's dressing room visit | Cricket - Hindustan Times

'A gut-wrenching feeling, and when you are down…': Ravi Shastri on PM Modi's dressing room visit after World Cup loss

Nov 25, 2023 07:21 AM IST

Ravi Shastri has reacted to PM Narendra Modi visiting the Indian dressing room after their loss to Australia in World Cup final.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first individual to visit the dressing room after India lost the World Cup final to Australia on Sunday in Ahmedabad. He tried to lift the confidence of a deflated Indian team, which was clearly reeling from the heartbreak of the outcome. The players wore a glum look on their faces – and rightly so as their dream of winning cricket's ultimate prize in front of a packed home crowd were crushed – even as they went to collect their runner-up medals. The next few hours were going to be tough, but Modi's visit, during which he interacted with almost all players, was directed at improving the morale of the squad.

A video grab shows Prime Minister Narendra Modi consoling cricketers Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli(PMO )
A video grab shows Prime Minister Narendra Modi consoling cricketers Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli(PMO )

But while his dressing room visit mixed reactions from the public, former India coach Ravi Shastri welcomed the move and said there couldn't have been a more prominent person to try and cheer up the guys. Shastri was part of a similar sombre dressing room atmosphere during the 2019 World Cup, where India lost to New Zealand in the semi-final at Manchester, and believes PM Modi's exchange with the players 'massive' for the team environment.

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"I think it's an outstanding thing simply because I know what a dressing room feels like and I have been in that dressing room for more than seven years as a coach of India apart from many years as a cricketer. It is a gut-wrenching feeling and when you are down then you seem that you are out. When you get someone like the Prime Minister of the country coming and visiting the dressing room, it is something massive because it can lift the spirits of the players," Shastri told ANI.

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The players held their own as the PM reiterated just how amazing they were throughout the World Cup. India were unbeaten en route to reaching the final, running opponents roughshod. Virat Kohli was the leading run-scorer, while Mohammed Shami emerged as the highest wicket-taker. Everything was aligned perfectly for India to hold the cup, but it wasn’t to be. Kohli and captain Rohit were clearly the most gutted of the lot and the PM held their hands together and tried to raise the mood.

"You guys have worked really hard and played exceptionally well. Just stick together and keep on motivating each other. Also, whenever you are free and are in Delhi then let's meet again. You all are cordially invited from my side," he had said.

Shastri, who's been there and done that four years ago in England, says he could imagine the heaviness in the air and Modi meeting the players would have gone a long way in helping the players settle down. "This is no ordinary man walking in. When you have Prime Minister of a country walking into the dressing room is special. I know what the players would have felt like I know what I would have felt like you know if I was a coach of India," added the former India all-rounder.

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