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Mohammad Azharuddin feels Ravi Shastri is disrespecting himself

Shastri's over-the-top praise for Team India did not impress Azharuddin.


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Kohli and Shastri has stiffer challenges ahead of them

What’s the story?

Newly appointed head coach Ravi Shastri’s over-the-top assessment of the current Indian team, belittling the Indian teams of the past, has been criticised by many former cricketers already. The latest entrant to that list is former captain Mohammad Azharuddin.

Azharuddin, who was not at all amused by Shastri’s remarks, told India Today, “He's being disrespectful to himself as well, as he has been part of Indian teams of the past. But you can't stop people from commenting.”

“Sometimes I don't know why people make such comments. I don't think such comments deserve a reaction from me. He has been part of sides of the past as well. So I will leave it at that,” he added.

The context

After cruising to a comfortable victory against Sri Lanka in the first Test, Shastri had heaped extravagant praise on the Indian team. He had said that a lot of big names who played for India in the past had failed to win a series in Sri Lanka. However, the current Indian team had done it in 2015 and were about to do so again this year.

He had further said that this Indian team had the capability of scaling heights that no other Indian team had ever scaled.

The heart of the matter

While he slammed Shastri for his comments, Azharuddin was noncommittal when asked about Team India’s future prospects. On being asked if he thought that the Virat Kohli-Shatsri combination can thrive in tougher situations against stronger opponents, the former Indian captain nonchalantly replied that everyone will have to wait and watch.

Sri Lanka, being an inexperienced side, have not challenged India much. However, when they tour outside the subcontinent, in places where the ball swings and seams, the true mettle of the Indian team will be tested.

What’s next?

Team India has a jam packed schedule ahead of them. After the third and final Test against Sri Lanka, they will play an ODI series and a one-off T20I in the island country. Then they will return home to host Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka with tours to South Africa and England also lined up.

Author’s take

Shastri may have been factually right about no other Indian team winning a Test series in Sri Lanka. However, he had overlooked the inexperience of both the current and 2015 Lankan teams.

India might be on course to a 3-0 whitewash in the ongoing series, but as Azharudding pointed out stiffer challenges await them in the near future.

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