Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

India’s former head coach Ravi Shastri on 27 November said that he believes India will be a ‘serious challenger’ in the next year’s T20 World Cup due to a strong nucleus in the shortest format. However, being reminded to rise to the occasion in knockout games is a must to emerge triumphant.

Stating that India found a nucleus of young players ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup — to be played in the Caribbean and the USA from 4 June 2024, Shastri said the presence of impact players like Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Rinku Singh, can make India a strong T20 core.

He appeared sad in commenting on the Indian cricket team failing to lift the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 after the hosts had a 10-match unbeaten run going into the title clash.

“It was heartbreaking but a lot of our guys will learn, the game moves on, and I see India winning a World Cup very soon,” Shastri said.

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“It might not be a 50-overs (one) that easily because you have to rebuild the side but 20-overs cricket, the very next one India will be a very serious challenger because you have got the nucleus. This is a shorter format of the game. Your focus should be on that.”

He added, “To be honest, it still hurts from the outside, that we could not win the cup because we were the strongest team.”

“Nothing comes easy — even the great man Sachin Tendulkar had to wait (for) six World Cups to win one. You don’t win (a) World Cup (easily), to win a World Cup you have got to be damn good on that big day,” Shastri said during the registration launch of the Indian Street Premier League in Mumbai.

“What you do earlier does not count, on that big day, that is when you rise to the occasion. Even before the start of the tournament, you knew, what would happen (in terms of the format).

‘Early doors (are there), (and) once top four teams are there, in the semifinal and final, those two days if you perform, you win. And those were the two days when Australia performed when they came from nowhere,” said the former India skipper.

“They lost the first two, but on the D-day, the two days, they did,” Shastri said about Australia, who won the 50-over World Cup title for a record sixth time.

On Indian bowlers performing in unison led by Mohammed Shami, who claimed 24 wickets, Shastri said, “The way the bowling stood up towards the mid-stage of the tournament you thought they had a great, great chance.”

With PTI inputs.

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Updated: 27 Nov 2023, 09:48 PM IST

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