India coach Shastri confirms exit after T20 World Cup

Published September 19, 2021
India coach Ravi Shastri is seen during nets. — Reuters/File
India coach Ravi Shastri is seen during nets. — Reuters/File

NEW DELHI: India head coach Ravi Shastri said he will not seek an extension of his contract after his tenure ends at the conclusion of the Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Since replacing Anil Kumble in mid-2017, Shastri, 59, has overseen two test series victories in Australia, although the side crashed out in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup in England.

The move comes just days after Virat Kohli decided to step down as India’s Twenty20 captain following the 20-overs World Cup beginning next month, and Shastri reckoned it would be the right time for him to step aside as well.

“I believe so because I’ve achieved all I wanted,” the former Test player told the Guardian newspaper. “Five years as No. 1 [in test cricket], to win in Australia twice, to win in England.

“We’ve also beaten every country in the world in their own backyard in white-ball cricket. If we win the World Cup that will be the icing on the cake.

“I believe one thing never overstay your welcome. And I would say that, in terms of what I wanted to get out of the side, I’ve over-achieved.”

India led the five-Test series in England heading into the final match in Manchester which was called off after Covid-19 cases in the touring camp.

Shastri himself contracted the virus and could not accompany the team to Manchester where a fourth member of the support staff tested positive, prompting the match to be cancelled.

Shastri came under fire for holding a book launch at a party in London where guests were seen without masks, but the former all-rounder brushed off the criticism.

“There were about 250 people there and no-one got Covid from that party,” he said. I’ve not got it at my book launch because it was on the 31st [August] and I tested positive on 3 September. It can’t happen in three days.

“I have absolutely no regrets because the people I met at that function were fabulous. And it was good for the boys to get out and meet different people rather than constantly being in their rooms.

“At the Oval Test, you were climbing stairs used by 5,000 people. So to point a finger at a book launch?”

The abandoned Test at Old Trafford is reckoned to have cost English cricket up to 40 million ($55 million) but Shastri said the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) would “not lose a penny”.

“The ECB have been outstanding and their relationship with Indian cricket is tremendous. I don’t know if it’s a stand-alone Test next year or they give them an extra two T20 games, but the ECB will not lose a penny because of the relationship that exists. In 2008 when we had the [terrorist] blast in Mumbai, England came back and played the Test. We don’t forget that.”

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2021

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