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Ravi Shastri greets India as one of cricket’s “biggest teams”


Outgoing India head coach Ravi Shastri said Monday splitting captaincy would work for a team he called “one of the best” teams in cricket history. India already eliminated beat Namibia in their last T20 World Cup match in Dubai Virat Kohli’s last match as captain in the shortest format. The match also ended Shastri’s five-year term as coach of the national team, which reached great heights under his leadership but failed to win a world crown. But Shastri believes a World Cup title is not far from the team that has a new T20 captain and Rahul Dravid as their coach.

“I’m not saying a great cricket team India, I say one of the great cricket teams in the history of the game,” Shastri told reporters.

“You have to have a bunch of players who are fit, hungry, fearless, have the quality, have the faith and then stay fit so that you can play together those five years and go around the world and perform everywhere.”

India came in as favorites at the tournament but lost their first two matches by huge margins to slip out of the semi-finals and New Zealand’s victory over Afghanistan on Sunday finally knocked out Kohli’s team.

“We did not have the courage in the second match against New Zealand. But still it is something for the boys to learn. They will get another opportunity next year,” Shastri said of next year’s T20 World Cup. in Australia.

“It’s not uncommon for you to have World Cups in 12 months. So hopefully they will go and kick there.”

Rohit, ‘capable guy’

Senior batsman Rohit Sharma is prepared to succeed Kohli, who will remain captain in Test and one-day matches, as T20I captain and Shastri said the move is the way forward in bubble life during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think it’s not such a bad thing because of the bubble and because of the amount of cricket being played,” said Shastri.

“The players need to be turned around and get the space they need to spend time with their families, their parents see.”

He added, “I think in Rohit you have a very capable guy. He has won so many IPLs. He is the vice-captain of this team. He is waiting in the wings to take that job.

“We may not have won this World Cup, but I think going forward we will continue to have a strong team because the IPL is throwing a lot of young players into the mix. Rahul (Dravid) will have his own ideas on how to take this team forward. “

The Indian Premier League has been blamed for players’ fatigue as the tournament, which was played in the United Arab Emirates, ended two days before the T20 World Cup.

The 59-year-old Shastri said he offered no apology.

“When you’re in a bubble for six months, this team, there are a lot of players in this team who play all three formats of the game. In the last 24 months, they’ve been home for 25 days,” Shastri said on the relentless cricket calendar.

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“I do not care who you are, if your name is Bradman, if you are also in a bubble, your average will drop because you are a human being.

“The cricket route is so packed that you can only do one thing at a time. At least they played T20 cricket in the IPL. I just wish the gap was a little more.”

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