Ravi Shastri’s Report Card

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Ravi Shastri's report card. Shastri oversaw India's transition to a world beating unit in Test cricket and a formidable force in white-ball formats.

Ravi Shastri’s Report CardShastri oversaw India's transition to a world beating unit in Test cricket and a formidable force in white-ball formats.

As India makes an early exit from the 2021 T20 WC, it marks the end of Ravi Shastri's four-year tenure as the head coach. In two successive stints of two years each, Shastri oversaw India's transition to a world beating unit in Test cricket and while he may not have an ICC trophy to show for it, under his regime India grew from strength to strength as a formidable white-ball side, reaching the semifinals of World Cup in 2019 and staying in the top three in ICC rankings for the most part of his tenure.

Here's a detailed look into what his seminal contributions were to the Indian side, who all prospered and who all withered away, and what is the legacy that he leaves this team with:

Note: Ravi Shastri's stats as coach is considered only from when he took over as the head coach in July 2017

India under Shastri

While most of the boards looked to cash in on the T20 bandwagon – thanks in no small to measure to the board's hefty financial muscle – Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli focused primarily on India's growth in Test cricket, especially winning overseas and results are there to see. The last four years saw an unprecedented success for India in the format, becoming an unbeatable monster in the sub-continent and the Caribbean and a force to reckon everywhere else. Under Shastri, India won series in Sri Lanka, West Indies, Australia (twice) and have a 2-1 series lead in England in addition to topping the table in the first iteration of World Test Championship where they eventually finished as runners up.

It was not just the wins but the manner in which they won several of these assignments' underscores India's dominance. India whitewashed Sri Lanka 3-0 in 2017 and West Indies 2-0 in 2019 in away tours. Against a full-strength Australia team in 2020/21, they came from behind a pounding in the opening Test to win the series 2-1 with several of their first-choice players unavailable at various points down the line. At home, India won 12 of the 15 Tests with a solitary defeat, winning all six series in this period.

After John Wright became India's maiden overseas coach in 2000, no other coach enjoyed a more fruitful reign in Tests as much Shastri, apart from Anil Kumble, who was at the helm for only a short period. Under no other coach did India win more Tests overseas with series wins in Sri Lanka and West Indies almost being taken for granted at this point.

India in Tests since Wright era

India in overseas Tests since Wright era

The biggest imprint that Shastri has left on this team is the emergence of an all-round bowling attack capable of winning Tests in any conditions, inarguably the greatest India had at point of time in their history. Under Shastri and bowling coach Bharat Arun, the pace attack transformed to a well-oiled unit both home and away. Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav all turned their career around and enjoyed the most productive phase of their career under Shastri. Ishant stepped from a holding bowler to the pace spearhead while Shami enjoyed a largely injury free spell in the second half of his career.

Before Shastri as coach

Under Shastri as coach

The pacers were not just at the forefront of India's overseas wins but also led the charge in home Tests. In his first home Test in charge, India's seamers picked all 17 Sri Lankan wickets to fall – the first time Indian spinners failed to pick a wicket in a home Test. Little did people know then that it was a sign of things to come. Umesh, who was often India's weak link in overseas Tests, became a specialist in Tests at home enjoying unprecedented success with the SG ball.

Shastri passed the “honeymoon” period with flying colours beating Sri Lanka both home and away in 2017, but tougher overseas assignments lay ahead of him as India had tours to South Africa, England, Australia, West Indies, and New Zealand in the 24 months to follow. The pace attack was shaping up well, but Shastri understood the value of a world class spinner in the ranks, especially in the second innings on tracks that would wear down. Ashwin, who up until then had question marks over his legacy on whether he could perform well outside Asia, turned it around under Shastri despite him getting a raw deal at times, like in West Indies in 2019 and to a lesser extent recently in England.

Ashwin in SENA Tests

Shastri fast tracked Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant into the Test fold in 2018 when most others saw little merit in it, despite their impressive domestic first-class careers. The two later would prove to be vital cogs with the bat and the ball respectively in India's success overseas success in the times to come.

Unlike in the bowling department, the success in batting department was slightly of a lower note. The most notable being Kohli's finest phase as an overseas batsman came in 2018 and Rohit Sharma finding a second wind in his Test career as an opening batter. Ravindra Jadeja realized his potential with the bat in this period which saw him moving up the order towards the fag end of Shastri's coaching tenure. However, there were batsmen who found the going tough in this period which saw the revival of fast bowling resources across the world. Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay were two players whose career nosedived in the Shastri era while barring one outstanding tour to Australia in 2018/19 summer, Pujara also had a less fertile period under Shastri.

Before Shastri as coach

Under Shastri as coach

In white ball formats under Shastri, India grew to a dominating force and was the side that was on the heels with England in the last half a decade. Under him, India registered first bilateral ODI series wins in Australia and South Africa, won an ODI series in New Zealand and reached the semifinals of World Cup in 2019 after finishing the top of the points table in the league phase. They also won T20I series in all the countries they toured – Sri Lanka (1-0 in 2017), South Africa (2-1 in 2018), Nidahas Trophy (in Sri Lanka in 2018), Ireland (2-0 in 2018), England (2-1 in 2018), West Indies (3-0 in 2019), New Zealand (5-0 in 2020) and Australia (2-1 in 2020). India also whitewashed Sri Lanka and West Indies across the three formats in tours in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

Shastri took over as the coach in the aftermath of Champions Trophy 2017 final defeat to Pakistan and oversaw a change in approach from defense-oriented finger spin to the more attacking means of wrist spin. In his fifth ODI in charge, India's XI fielded two specialist wrist spinners in the same playing XI for the first time ever in history – Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. The next 18 months in the leadup to World Cup in England saw the pair's rise as they played a pivotal roles in ODI series wins in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Shastri tenure witnessed a shift in India opting for specialists who are best fit for a role instead of multi-skilled players offering more depth than quality. India moved away from Ravindra Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin to Chahal and Kuldeep, which saw their bowling attack getting stronger at the expense of lack of batting depth. With none of their batsmen bowling and none of their bowlers proving to be useful hitters lower down the order, India suffered from balance issues in tournaments which played a part in their semifinal defeat to New Zealand in Manchester in 2019 and the Super 12 exit in T20 WC 2021. Despite the lack of an ICC trophy, India endured an immensely successful period in ODIs and T20Is under him, especially in bilaterals. Overall, India won more than double the number of ODIs and T20Is they had lost under him.

India in ODIs since 2000

Shastri's parting words were “When I took this job, I said in my mind I want to make a difference and I think I have. Sometimes in life, it's not all about what you accomplish, it's what you overcome.” Shastri has left Indian team at a higher pedestal than they were in not just when he came onboard in 2017 but under any previous time in the annals of history. A difference he did make.

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