New Zealand holds a special place in Indian Test cricket history. It was the country where an Indian team won a Test match for the first time overseas: Dunedin, 1968 is a memorable Test match for many a reason. That was soon followed by the first-ever away series win as MAK Pataudi’s men won three out of the four matches on tour that year.

New Zealand also holds a special place for India’s current head coach Ravi Shastri. In a stroke of remarkable coincidence, when Virat Kohli walks out to the toss on Friday in Wellington for the first time as India captain in a Test in New Zealand, his coach in the background would mark 39 years since the day he made his debut at the very venue.

“Same venue, same opposition and I walked into the dressing room and it is still the same at Basin Reserve. I made my debut here and I wouldn’t have believed that I will be back here to the day, 39 years after that first Test. That too in India colours, in the Indian dressing room,” said Shastri on the eve of the series-opener.

Making his debut as an out-and-out bowler, Shastri had figures of 28-9-54-3 and 3-0-9-3 in the two innings while he batted at No 10 in the lineup. He would, of course, go on to open the batting for India in Test cricket as well.

In this interview with Cheteshwar Pujara for, Shastri talks about making his debut the morning after landing in New Zealand, picking up a six-four in his first Test in conditions that he was not used to, and more.

India begin their two-match Test series in New Zealand on Friday in Wellington. The series is part of the ICC World Test Championship where India so far have a 100% record.

The second match of the series is in Christchruch from February 29.