This cricket team will jump over a cliff to win, says coach Ravi Shastri
In the same breath, Ravi Shastri took off on a tangent, reflecting on his remarks ahead of the third Test about critics 'firing blanks from millions of miles away' in the wake of the heavy loss in Perth.
Even in India's moment of unprecedented triumph, Ravi Shastri couldn't resist taking a potshot at critics genuine or imagined of the Indian team, even as he lauded Virat Kohli's leadership skills and his passion for the game.
"Very satisfying," the India head coach said at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) yesterday, not long after the final day of the series was completely washed out to give the visitors their first ever Test series victory in Australia. "Virat started his journey four or five years ago here [as Test captain]. I don't think anyone plays Test cricket with more passion than he does. At least I don't see any other international captain coming close to him on the field when it comes to showing that passion needed to play the game. He is very expressive, which is different to others.
Other captains could have different personalities but Virat is someone who is in your face and it rubs off on all the youngsters who are watching the game in India. His teammates, they want to emulate him and to believe that they can be someone like him. Guys in the team have become more and more confident, about their own ability and the ability of the team as well, and it's made all the difference."
In the same breath, Shastri took off on a tangent, reflecting on his remarks ahead of the third Test about critics 'firing blanks from millions of miles away' in the wake of the heavy loss in Perth.
Coach hits back at critics
"I wasn't joking there [in Melbourne], because I knew how hard this team had worked. When you fire from there [India], by the time it crosses the southern hemisphere, it's blown away by the wind like a tracer bullet," he thundered, to much amusement all around. "But lead, with something in it, can be pretty serious. And that's what we have fired right through the series. We were committed, and it jolly well made a difference at the end of it all.
"This is not a team of gods or demigods, seniors or juniors. This is an Indian cricket team that will jump over a cliff to win a match for the country. That's the determination, that's the ruthlessness, that's the mindset with which this team went to play in this series. Today, I can say I am proud of my boys. This team now have an identity to look at any other Indian team from the past in the eye and say 'We play proper Test match cricket. You did, we did too but without being intimidated'."
Bigger than 1983 World Cup
Shastri called the series win bigger than the 1983 World Cup victory. "I will tell you how satisfying it is for me. World Cup 1983, World Championship of Cricket in 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," he said.
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