Trust Ravi Shastri to mesmerize you with his words every time he speaks. It was therefore not a surprise to those who know him or have followed his cricketing journey – as a player, broadcaster and coach – when Shastri gave a riveting speech – his last – to the Indian players in the dressing room before signing off as the head coach of the team. Shastri addressed the players India beat Namibia by 9 wickets in their last T20 World Cup match on Monday in Dubai. Team India failed to qualify for the knockout stages as Pakistan and New Zealand went ahead in the semi-finals from Group 2.
BCCI shared the video of Shastri’s speech on its social media handle with the caption: “Must Watch: A stirring speech to sign off as the Team India Head Coach. Here’s a snippet from Ravi Shastri’s team address in the dressing room, reflecting on the team’s journey in the last few years.”
Shastri who had confirmed that he won’t continue as India’s head coach even before the World Cup began, termed the current Indian side as one of the greatest sides in the world.
“You guys as a team have over exceeded my expectations with the way you’ve played. Over the last few years, you went across the globe, across formats and beat everyone. This makes you one of the great teams that has played the game. Not only a great Indian cricket team… This will go down as one of great teams that has played the game over the five-six years across all formats. The results are there to be seen,” Shastri said in his speech.
Under Shastri’s tenure India beat Australia in Australia twice in Test series, led England 2-1 in England and won limited-overs matches, series almost everywhere in the world.
Shastri agreed that not winning an ICC tournament – the closest they came was the final of the World Test Championship, which they lost to New Zealand – was a disappointment with this team but added that the cricketers will get more opportunities in the future to fulfil the dream.
“Yes, we did not have a great World Cup. We could have won ICC tournaments. But you will get another chance. You’ll be wiser, you’ll be more experienced when the next opportunity comes,” he added.
The former India all-rounder also hailed the Virat Kohli-led side for battling through Covid-19 situations, playing in strict bio-bubbles and managing to compete against all odds.
“In life, it is not about what you accomplish, it is about what you overcome. That overwrites everything else. So what you have gone through in the last two years with Covid and the hurdles that have come, you overcome everything and have been prepared to compete. That is the best thing I like about this Indian cricket team,” Shastri said.
In the end of the video, Shastri could be seen hugging and greeting all the supporting staff and players.
Shastri will be replaced by former India captain Rahul Dravid as the head of the side. Dravid’s first assignment will be the home series against New Zealand, starting on November 17, for which BCCI is likely to announce a new T20I captain as the World Cup was Kohli’s last India’s shortest format leader.