India head coach Ravi Shastri will part ways with the national team after the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, due to be held in UAE and Oman from October 17 to November 14.
Shastri had served the Indian team as a director from 2014 till 2016. He was made the full-time coach in 2017 before the BCCI re-appointed him in 2019.
Under Shastri, Team India have done reasonably well, winning two Test series in Australia, reaching the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship and the semi-final of 2019 ODI World Cup.
They were also leading the recently-concluded Test series 2-1 in England before the fifth and final Test was called off due to COVID-9 scare in the visiting camp.
In an exclusive chat with ‘The Guardian’, Shastri reflected on his stint and said winning the T20 World Cup would be “icing on the cake” but the team has already done special things with him at the helm of affairs.
“I believe so because I’ve achieved all I wanted. Five years as No.1 (in Test cricket), to win in Australia twice, to win in England.
“I spoke to Michael Atherton earlier this summer and said: ‘For me, this is the ultimate, to beat Australia in Australia and win in England in Covid times.’ We lead England 2-1 and the way we played at Lord’s and the Oval was special,” he stated.
During Shastri’s tenure, India also registered T20 series wins in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and England.
“We’ve also beaten every country in the world in their own backyard in white-ball cricket. If we win the (T20) World Cup that will be the icing on the cake. There is nothing more.
“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. To beat Australia away and to lead the series in England in a COVID year? It is the most satisfying moment of my four decades in cricket.”
Ravi Shastri would love to end his term with an ICC trophy, which the team has not lifted during his stint yet.
“We’re going to give it everything. Absolutely. We’ve got the team to win if we play to our potential. Above all we’re going to enjoy it. Forget Test match pressure. T20 cricket is meant to be enjoyed. I plan on going out on a real high.”
He also conceded that there would be a bit of “sadness” on leaving this fantastic Indian team set-up.
“Yes there will be sadness it’s ending because I’ve worked with so many great players and personalities. We’ve had some great times in the dressing room. But, above all, the quality of our cricket and the results we’ve achieved has made it one heck of a journey.”