Indian men’s cricket team coach Ravi Shastri on Wednesday called for a best-of-three final instead of a one-off match to decide the World Test Championship (WTC) winner, ahead of the final against New Zealand beginning on June 18 in Southampton.
“Ideally, in the long run if they want to pursue with the Test championship, a best-of-three final would be ideal — a three-match final as culmination of two and a half years of cricket around the globe. Best of three would have been ideal,” said Shastri in a media interaction on the eve of the team’s departure for England.
India skipper Virat Kohli, on the other hand, said that the WTC final still holds a lot of value despite being one-off since it is first of its kind and is the culmination of last few years of hard work.
“It holds a lot of value, this being the first of its kind and in the toughest format. All of us take a lot of pride in playing Test cricket and the way we have progressed as a side. It (WTC final) is an example of what Test cricket means to us,” said Kohli.
“So all of us who have been part of the Test side for many years, this is like an accumulation of all the hard work for not just the duration of [two years of] WTC but of the last five-six years since the time we started coming up the ranks and building as a side. We are just very, very happy to have the opportunity to play the final,” added the India No. 4 Test batsman.
Shastri, a former India captain, called it the biggest match India will play, if not the biggest ever.
“See, it is the first time. When you look at that and the magnitude it will be played at, I think this is the biggest if not the biggest ever. It is the toughest form of the game which tests you. It has not happened over three days or three months. It has happened over two years where teams have played each other around the world and earned their stripes,” he said.
The 59-year-old former all-rounder said the current Indian team’s development hasn’t happened overnight. He pointed out that the team has learned how to win from difficult positions.
“The guys have earned their stripes. This is not a team that has suddenly blossomed overnight. Like Virat said, five-six years of being No. 1 and when you start being on top, playing cricket at the highest level and competing against the best, you have the ability to pull yourself out of tough situations,” added Shastri.
“As you have seen time and time again. Not just Australia. In last two years, there have been many times when this side has pulled itself off from big problems and gone on to win series. [Playing the] final is a great victory for the boys really,” said the former player who coached India to two successive Test series wins in Australia, in 2018-19 and 2020-21.
Ravi Shastri calls for reduction in number of T20Is played to counter scheduling issues
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has called for a reduction in the number of T20Is played to counter the raging issue of scheduling in international cricket. The month of July 2022 has seen the issue of hectic scheduling in cricket and prioritisation of franchise T20 leagues being reignited.
South Africa chose to pull out of a three-match ODI series against Australia in January 2023 to ensure their players would be available for the upcoming new domestic T20 competition in the country.
Earlier this week, England’s Test skipper and all-rounder Ben Stokes announced his retirement from ODI cricket after the first match against South Africa at the age of 31, citing the “unsustainable” workload by playing in all three formats.
With speculations coming that the upcoming Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the 2023-27 cycle will have more of T20I action, Shastri, currently in United Kingdom as a member of the Sky Sports commentary team, feels that bilateral T20Is should be reduced by a huge amount to free up the hectic international calendar.
“I would be a little careful of the number of bilateral splits, especially in T20 cricket. There’s a lot of franchise cricket which can be encouraged, whichever country it’s in – India, West Indies, or Pakistan. You play less bilaterals and then you get together for the World Cups. So, the emphasis on ICC World Cup events becomes paramount. Then people look forward to them,” said Shastri in an episode of the Vaughany and Tuffers podcast.
Shastri, a former India all-rounder and member of the 1983 Cricket World Cup winning team, further asked for creation of two divisions in Test cricket in a bid to safeguard the future of the longest format of the game.
“I think two tiers are needed, otherwise Test cricket will die in 10 years time. You need six teams at the top, and then six teams in the second and then you qualify. And those top six play against each other more often because of the corridor you open up by having less bilateral T20 cricket and just franchise cricket. That’s the way all formats of the game can survive.”
Nation needs President who can protect constitution: Yashwant Sinha
Joint opposition candidate for Presidential poll, Yashwant Sinha on Friday said the nation needs a president who can protect the Constitution of the country.
Sinha was in Gujarat to seek support for himself. He appealed to the MLAs and MPs to vote for the candidate “who can protect the Constituency of India”.
He said the nation was passing through a serious constitutional and economic crises and at such a point of time the nation needs a president who does not toe the party line at the cost of national interest.
“There is an undeclared emergency in the country, even the media does not have the liberty to practice the profession freely when a check and balance is must for the country. So MLAs and MPs should vote in accordance with their conscience,” said sinha.
The former minister said he was confident of getting votes of the MLAs and MPs belonging to the Congress, BTP and NCP in the state.
He said he disagreed with the political theory that if a person is from a specific community and one holds a constitutional post it helps in uplifting the community. Citing the example of NDA presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu, he said,”They are projecting her as a tribal representative, she was the Governor of Jharkhand for six year, yet tribals’ conditions have not improved.”
“Though Ram Nath Kovind was president, see the condition of the community in his state. Nothing has changed, on the contrary they have suffered a lot,” said Sinha.
He, however, made it clear that he did not mean that a person should confront the central government.
He said, “Communalism is spreading because the state is backing it because communalism is consolidating the vote bank for them.”
Sinha said he was shocked to find that even today section 144 is implemented in Gujarat and questioned the state who it was afraid of. He said, “Even for social functions or events the people of Gujarat are asked to seek permission which is anti democracy.”
I have seen glimpses of what this hockey team can achieve: Women’s coach Schopman
India women’s hockey team chief coach Janneke Schopman has said she has “seen glimpses” of what her players can achieve following her side’s 3-4 loss in a hard-fought Pool B match of the FIH World Cup 2022 against New Zealand here late on Thursday.
Despite going down to the Kiwis, India are still in contention for a quarterfinal spot after finishing third in their pool. They will face Spain, who finished second in Pool C, in the crossover match on July 10 for a place in the last-eight.
Schopman also attributed the loss to New Zealand to defensive frailties and the rivals’ clinical finishes.
“I am proud of our fight as we worked really hard to stay in the game. Unfortunately, we made some defensive mistakes and New Zealand were very clinical in their finish,” said Schopman.
“There are a lot of things to learn from this game but I have seen glimpses of what we can do. Especially, our performance in the second half showed that we can play some good hockey,” she added.
For India, Vandana Katariya (4th munite), Lalremsiami (44th) and Gurjit Kaur (59th) were on target. The Indian team started the game aggressively and put pressure on their opponents in the opening minutes of the match.
But the Kiwis fought back after they earned a penalty corner and Olivia Merry didn’t miss out on the opportunity of slotting the ball into the goal in the 12th minute.
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