India serious contenders in T20 WC 2024: Ravi Shastri

Written by Mohan Sharma

Former India captain and ex-head coach Ravi Shastri said on Monday that India need not wait longer than a year to end their International Cricket Council trophy drought, adding that Asian giants are serious contenders for next year’s T20 World Cup.

Ravi Shastri also highlighted that it’s not easy to win World Cups and said that India failed to step up on the big day despite having been at their best throughout the tournament in the recently-concluded ODI World Cup.

Shastri said the final defeat in Ahmedabad was heartbreaking, but explained why it’s not easy to win the world titles consistently. Notably, under his reign as head coach, India agonisingly lost the 2019 World Cup semi-final to New Zealand in Manchester.

“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 said, as quoted by news agency PTI.

“What you do earlier does not count, on that big day, that is when you rise to the occasion. Those two days (semi-final and final) if you perform, you win. And those were the two days when Australia performed when they came from nowhere,” he added.

Ravi Shastri talked up the Indian T20I side, saying it has got a good nucleus to work around in the lead-up to the next year’s tournament in the West Indies and the USA.

India, led by Suyrakumar Yadav, have shown signs of dominance against Australia in the ongoing 5-match series, winning the first two matches in Visakhapatnam and Thiruvananthapuram.

Young Yashasvi Jaiswal is looking set to give the big names stiff competition while Rinku Singh is showing immense potential as finisher. It remains to be seen if India will bring back their senior players in Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja who missed the shortest format of the game in 2023 due to the buildup to World Cup 2023.

“‘It was heartbreaking, but lot of our guys will learn, the game moves on, (and) I see India winning a World Cup very soon,” Shastri said.

“It might not be a 50-overs (one) that easily because you have to rebuild the side, but 20-over 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,” he added.

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Mohan Sharma