Sydney: India coach Ravi Shastri equated India’s maiden Test series win on Australia soil with the historic 1983 World Cup triumph terming it “as big if not bigger”. India beat Australia 2-1 to win their first Test series in Australia in 71 years and Shastri wasn’t short of praise for his wards.
“I will tell you how satisfying it is for me. World Cup 1983, World Championship of Cricket 1985 – this is as big, or even bigger because it is in the truest (Test) format of the game. It’s Test cricket, which is meant to be the toughest,” Shastri said on Monday during the post-match presser.
While formats can’t be compared but India’s 1983 World Cup triumph came against an all-conquering West Indies side that featured Vivian Richards, Clive Lloyd along with four fearsome fast bowlers in Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Joel Garner. But even though many fans were not on the same page as that of the India coach, Shastri stood firmly by his words.
“This is the purest form of cricket. A 71-year-old barrier has been broken and accolades flowing from all over the world - from the likes of Imran Khan or Viv Richards - say it all. Those who've played cricket in Australia know what it takes to win here. They're as tough as an opposition can get and nothing comes easy here. Of course, the 1983 World Cup glory is right up there and so was 1985. But I do stand by what I said -- this is pure joy, this is real cricket.
"This is a young team, it is their moment and they should have a good sense of the kind of history they've made here. In fact, they do,” Shastri was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
Shastri also took a dig at his critics, once again, saying some wanted to only pull this team down.
“There are people who've only wanted to criticise this team, taking continuous jibes. Social media is fine, you get all sorts and none of that matters as long as you do what you have to do and do it right. But there are people who've simply wanted to pull this team down and mind you, some have not been very subtle about it either.
"That's why I said what I said in the press conference after the Sydney Test. Before my first stint with the team, India were number five or something (in Test rankings). The last three years they've been number One and that's going to be the case for some time now. Those who want to keep abusing and ranting can continue doing that. Sooner or later they'll understand they don't matter,” the 56-year-old added.
With the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 fast approaching, he also said the upcoming limited-overs matches in Australia and New Zealand will help the team management to finalise the Men in Blue squad for the showpiece event.
“Yes, that's the only thing on our minds now -- the World Cup. Mentally, we're already switching from red (ball) to white. Players who've been playing continuous cricket have been given a break. Jasprit Bumrah, for instance. He'll have a good rest. At the same time, we'll use these matches (ODIs coming up in Oz and NZ) to fine-tune things. We're not bothered about winning or losing these games. We'll use this opportunity just to get the final look of the World Cup squad right,” he explained....