Updated: December 23, 2021 6:31:09 pm
Indian cricket has progressed so much in the last five years that the only gripe is that they aren’t winning the ICC tournaments. All other familiar tropes from the past have withered away under the coaching reign of Ravi Shastri.
Shastri, whose tenure as head coach ended recently and who ensured that the team, with a 65 per cent winning run across all formats, is a genuine contender to win a Test series anywhere in the world, will be the guest at an online Adda hosted by The Indian Express on Thursday evening. He is in conversation with Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Indian Express Group, and Head of New Media at The Indian Express; and Deputy Associate Editor Sriram Veera.
Shastri’s career arc is as fascinating as it gets. He started as an elegant left-arm spinner and a tailender, became an all-rounder, then transitioned into a very successful Test opener with hundreds in West Indies and Australia. When injury cut short his career, he became a leading commentator, travelling the length and breadth of the cricketing world. But his biggest assignment – and the toughest yet – was as India coach. He found an ally in captain Virat Kohli and together, they played a key role in transforming Indian cricket.
Under him, India refused to surrender at any point. The diffident pitch talk faded away, a high-quality fast bowling pack was unleashed, and the team began to win everywhere. The ambitions kept cranking up: from the odd Test wins overseas to winning entire series.
During the team’s tour of Australia earlier this year, in the absence of Kohli and especially after several key players were injured, India were expected to cave in miserably. However, the players responded magnificently to Shastri’s call and scripted a most memorable series win. At home, meanwhile, Team India have been unbeaten.
The only blips have been the fact that India have been unable to win the ICC trophies — they finished runners-up in the Test Championship in June and got knocked out in the semi-finals of the 50-over ODI World Cup in England in 2019 and were knocked out early in the T20 World Cup this year.
The Express Adda is a series of informal interactions organised by The Indian Express Group featuring those at the centre of change. Past guests at the event include actor Manoj Bajpayee, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, CNN host Fareed Zakaria, actor Naseeruddin Shah, economist N K Singh, cricketer Rohit Sharma, and writer and Morgan Stanley strategist Ruchir Sharma.
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