Former Indian head coach, Ravi Shastri has revealed an interesting story from 2017 during his tenure, where his backing of a star batter paid off despite resistance shown by skipper, Virat Kohli. Shortly after the Champions Trophy 2017, India was touring Sri Lanka for a three-match Test series with the BCCI-named squad set to get involved in the thick of things. However, it emerged that one of the team’s frontline opening batters, Murali Vijay, hadn’t entirely recovered from a surgery he had undergone on his wrist.
In came a replacement batter who had not been in the mix for a long time but after being back by Ravi Shastri for a place in the Playing XI. That replacement was none other than, Shikhar Dhawan, who had top-scored in the Champions Trophy with 338 runs at an average of 67.60. Shastri recalls how with Vijay injured, he tried to convince Virat Kohli into including Dhawan in the team for the opening Test at Galle but the captain wasn’t too much in favor of the move.
During a chat on Star Sports, Ravi Shastri said, “I remember one when people talk about selection… and it was a great selection. Shikhar Dhawan was not going to play, he was not in the mix. He had a good Champions trophy. I went to Virat and said, ‘this is the guy, but he said ‘no’. He said ‘we were thinking about giving someone a run. So we thought we will carry on with this process.”
Ravi Shastri went on to explain that he managed to convince Kohli about granting Dhawan a place in the XI. Having said that, the move worked wonders as Shikhar Dhawan smashed 190 off just 168 balls inside two sessions on Day 1 with 31 fours. India won the Test match by a massive 304 runs but Sri Lanka could never recover from that early onslaught and India went on to register a whitewash in the 3-match Test series.
Recalling the same, Ravi Shastri said, “I said ‘No, give this guy a go. He is looking dangerous. He is looking good. If he gets going, he will win you the match in a session. The first game he plays, he gets 190 before tea. That was it. The stamp on the series was right there. And then once they lost the first game, it was one after the other.”