Former skipper Sourav Ganguly believes Ravi Shastri needs to lead India to a major tournament win in order to justify the recent two-year contract extension handed to him as head coach.
Shastri’s latest two-year tenure with the Indian team came to an end with the completion of the 2019 World Cup but the former all-rounder was able to beat off competition from Mike Hesson and Tom Moody to retain his role with the Men in Blue until 2021.
Under Shastri’s tenure, India consolidated its top ICC Test ranking while recording a maiden Test series win on Australian soil. However, the Men in Blue failed in the semi-final hurdle of the 2019 World Cup after going down to New Zealand at Old Trafford.
“The team was capable and it still is but you have to start winning big games,” Ganguly was quoted as saying by India Today.
“The team has no dearth of talent. A team that has Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant and Shikhar Dhawan is not short on talent. But it’s also true that we lost the semi-finals in 2015 World Cup, in the 2016 T20 World Cup and now in 2019 World Cup.
“They will have to find a way to win knockout games. That is the puzzle they need to solve. They need some luck, take some risks and find a way.”
The major tournaments to be covered in Shastri’s new contract are the 2020 and 2021 T20 World Cups and Ganguly believes that leading the team to victory in them are a must for the head coach.
“Ravi has been doing this for five years and now been given this responsibility for two more years. So I don’t think anyone else in history has got such a long time with the team,” Ganguly said.
“He is the right choice but he now has to justify. He has two T20 World Cups ahead and in such big tournaments, India needs to find ways to win them,” he added.
West Indies tail-end batsman Miguel Cummins achieved an unwanted record on Saturday when he faced 45 deliveries and spent 95 minutes at the crease without scoring a run before being dismissed on the third day of the Antigua Test against India.
It was the second longest innings in Test cricket by a player without scoring.
The longest innings without scoring is by New Zealand’s Geoff Allott who batted for 101 minutes before getting out for a duck against South Africa in 1999.
India’s bowlers had to dig deep to take the last two wickets on Saturday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. West Indies captain Jason Holder found good support from Cummins as they put on 41 for the ninth wicket before being dismissed for 222.
For India, veteran seamer Ishant Sharma had earlier picked up five wickets. Also, pacer Jasprit Bumrah became the fastest Indian pacer to 50 Test wickets – in 11 matches.
The visitors were bundled out for 297 runs in their first-innings on Day Two with Ajinkya Rahane top-scoring with 81 while Ravindra Jadeja added a vital 58 down the order.
In reply, an inspired late five-wicket burst from pacer Ishant Sharma derailed what was a strong start from the West Indies who lost five of their batsmen in an eventful third session on Friday.
Can Windies skipper Jason Holder inspire a fightback for the Caribbean side on the crucial third day at Antigua? Follow the ball-by-ball commentary from Day Three below to find out.