Ravi Shastri said he would continue to blood more youngsters into the Indian cricket team after being reappointed as head coach, in an interview by The Times of India.
Shastri was reappointed as head coach till the 2021 Twenty20 World Cup on Friday by the three-member Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gayakwad and Shantha Rangaswamy. He beat former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson, Australian Tom Moody and former India teammates Robin Singh and Lalchand Rajput to the post.
Shastri, who previously stated thatsmooth transition for youngsters will be the biggest challenge in his second stint, said that he would continue giving more opportunities to youngsters as he looks forward to building a legacy.
“One of the areas we concentrated on over the last two years was to blood as many youngsters as possible. There are more youngsters who will get a look-in. There’s an awesome amount of talent coming through the ranks,” Ravi Shastri was quoted as saying.
“Bench strength is everything if we’re looking at things from a long-term perspective. That constant flow of fresh, young talent has to be there. That kind of a pool does wonders when the only objective is to ensure you don’t end up with, let’s say, any kind of deadwood,” he said.
This will be Shastri’s fourth stint with the national team, having served briefly as the Cricket Manager (2007 tour of Bangladesh), Team Director (2014-2016) and head coach (2017-2019). The 57-year-old said that the ICC Test Championship and the two upcoming ICC Twenty20 World Cups were his top targets.
“This is a young side, one still in the making. It has the potential to remain the best team in the world. There are two ICC T20 tournaments over the next two years, in 2020 and 2021. The Test championship cycle has begun, so that becomes top priority. We have a splendid Test side that’s stayed at the top of the rankings and needs to keep up that good work. In T20Is, we need to take a fresh perspective and consolidate on the fabulous talent we have,” he added.
Since replacing Anil Kumble, whose differences with skipper Virat Kohli came out in the open, Shastri’s coaching record has been phenomenal. India have won 11 out of 21 Tests, 43 out of 60 One-Day Internationals and 25 T20Is out of 36 during his tenure.
Under his time as coach, India also recorded their first-ever Test series win in Australia in 2019 after having lost on tours to South Africa and England in 2018. The Men in Blue also registered their first-ever bilateral ODI series win in South Africa last year.
Looking back on his stint, Shastri said the only thing he regretted was the World Cup 2019 semi-final loss to New Zealand.
“Those 30 minutes changed everything. We were right there and then it all slipped away. We played some very good cricket through the tournament. We won more matches than any other team, topped the table and that spoke of our dominance. But then, that’s sport. One bad day, one bad session and it wasn’t ours to go any further,” he revealed.
(with PTI inputs)