Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri has represented the Indian team in 187 international matches and has mentored the side for four years as their head coach between 2017 and 2021. As a cricketer, he has been part of some of the memorable series and watched a few many as their coach from the dugout. Notably, the highlight of his career as a player was the 1985 World Championship and the 1986 England Test series, and as a coach, it has undoubtedly been the twin Test series wins in Australia. But which of the four has been the closest to his heart?
When asked about the same on ESPNCricinfo, on the series closest to his heart among 1985 World Championship, 1986 England tour and the 2020/21 Australia Test series, Shastri picked the former and the latter.
After leading Group A, India beat New Zealand in the semis before outplaying arch-rivals Pakistan in the final at the Melbourne cricket ground to win the World Championship after completing an unbeaten run. Shastri was named the Player of the series for his all-rounder performance, which remained the main highlight of his career.
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“1985 because we won the World Championship, beating Pakistan and we showed the world 1983 wasn’t a fluke,” he said.
In the 2020/21 Border-Gavaskar series in Australia, India had lost most of their regulars to injuries while then captain Virat Kohli was on a paternity leave. The visitors were forced to field their second-string side with Ajinkya Rahane leading the team. And from the horrors of 36 all-out in Adelaide, India stunned the hosts in Melbourne and scripted the unthinkable at Gabba to retain the elusive trophy. India became the only side to beat Australia twice in Australia in a Test series.
“ 2021 because no one has done it twice. We alone took 71 years to beat them, the first Asian team to beat Australia in Australia. And to do it again was unreal it probably was one of the greatest series of all time,” Shastri said.
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