Former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri has backed India as a serious contender for next year’s T20 World Cup, despite their disappointing loss to Australia in the final of the recent edition. Shastri stressed the importance of performing on the big day in knockout matches, highlighting Australia’s ability to step up when it mattered most.
“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,” Ravi Shastri remarked during the launch of the Indian Street Premier League.
Shastri emphasized that it’s the knockout stage that truly determines a team’s success in a major tournament. “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 that, what happens (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,” Ravi Shastri explained.
Despite India’s heartbreaking loss in the final, Shastri remains optimistic about the team’s future prospects, particularly in the shorter format of the game. He believes that India has a strong nucleus of young players who can challenge for the title in next year’s T20 World Cup.
“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,” Ravi Shastri stated. “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 very serious challengers because you have got the nucleus, this is a shorter format of the game. Your focus should be on that.”
While acknowledging the pain of India’s defeat in the final, Shastri praised the team’s overall performance throughout the tournament. He highlighted the impressive bowling unit, led by Mohammed Shami, who played a crucial role in India’s journey.
“It was fabulous,” Ravi Shastri said, recalling India’s campaign. “To be honest, it still hurts from the outside, that we could not win the cup because we were the strongest team.”
Shastri’s confidence in India’s potential stems from their strong batting lineup and the growing experience of their young players. With a united set-up and a clear focus on the shorter format, India is poised to be a major force in next year’s T20 World Cup.