World Cup 2019: Ravi Shastri rues not having a 'solid' batsman in the middle-order
What's the story?
The Indian cricket team's head coach Ravi Shastri has opened up on India's World Cup campaign and spoken on areas in which the team could have improved as well as the decision to send MS Dhoni at number seven in the semi-final.
In case you didn't know
India crashed out of World Cup 2019 after a shock defeat against New Zealand. Even though India's performance in most parts of the tournament was exceptional, the Men in Blue crumbled under pressure when it mattered the most. Following the defeat, some tactical decisions by the team management came under the scanner.
The heart of the matter
Talking to Indian Express, the Indian team's head coach Ravi Shastri shared his views regarding India's journey in World Cup 2019. Shastri was proud of his team's performance and said that it was 30 minutes of poor cricket that cost them the semi-final. He also shared what he told the group after the semi-final defeat. “Walk out with your heads held high. Be proud. Those 30 minutes can’t erase the fact that you guys have been the best team in the last couple of years. You guys know it. One tournament, one series — and that, too, 30 minutes of play can’t decide that. You guys have earned that respect. Of course, we are all hurt and disappointed but, in the end, be proud of what you have done for the last two years.”
Talking about the things that could have improved their chances Shastri said ”In hindsight, yes, we did need a solid batsman out there in the middle-order. But now, that’s something for the future. That’s a position that was always giving us problems, but we just couldn’t nail it. (KL) Rahul was there but then Shikhar Dhawan got injured. Then Vijay Shankar was there, and he got injured. We just couldn’t control it.”
When asked about the controversial decision to send MS Dhoni at number seven in the semi-final, the former India skipper said “It was a team decision. Everyone was in with it — and it was a simple decision, too. Last thing you wanted was Dhoni coming out to bat early and getting out — that would have killed the chase. We needed his experience later. He is the greatest finisher of all times — and it would have been criminal to not make use of him in that way. The whole team was clear on it."
Shastri defended the decision to send Rishabh Pant at number four. ”And Rishabh Pant did look pretty secure when he got out to bat, even against Trent Boult, didn’t he? You could then say that if Pant had continued and not got out… but that’s sport. You grow up in quick time. He will learn, he already knows it. But I am happy that the team showed spunk. They didn’t give up even after losing Pant and Pandya. What a fightback that was.” Shastri added.
Shastri lauded Ravindra Jadeja for his sensational knock that kept India in the hunt. “Jadeja was outstanding. He has great natural talent and I am so glad that he has realized that he is a very good player… and what balance he brought to the team. Imagine, he was out for eight matches but every time he went on to the field in those, he gave it all. Tigerish. Running and throwing. Then he comes in and has two incredible games. He brings outstanding ability to the table. This is by far his best knock, and in the next two years, you are going to see the best of Jadeja. He is going to another level now,” he said.
Shastri was also full of praise for MS Dhoni. Complimenting Dhoni for his composure, Shastri said “He was magnificent. The composure in the situation. And let me tell you, if not for that unfortunate run out, I think he had his calculations going inside his head. Which ball to hit, how much to keep for (Jimmy) Neesham’s last over. You could see his brain was ticking. He wanted to do it so desperately and it was clear on his face when he came back to the dressing room,”.
Ravi Shastri was handed a 45-day extension after his contract ended with the World Cup 2019. It will be interesting to see whether BCCI retains him or looks for someone else.