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T20 World Cup: When I took this job, I said in my mind I want to make a difference, says Shastri

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Dubai, Nov 8 (IANS) Outgoing India head coach Ravi Shastri said when he took this job, he affirmed in his mind that he wanted to make a difference. He added that sometimes in life, it is about overcoming things, not about what was accomplished. Monday’s match against Namibia in Super 12 of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup marks the last match of Shastri at helm along with Bharat Arun and R Sridhar in their respective coaching positions.

“It (journey) has been fantastic. 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. And what these guys have overcome over the last five years, the way they have travelled across the globe and performed in every part of the globe in all formats of the game will make this – irrespective of what’s happened here – as one of the great teams in the history of the game. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind. It’s unfortunate that we are out of this tournament but that takes nothing away from a great side,” said Shastri in a pre-match chat with the broadcasters.

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Talking about the high points with the Indian team, Shastri listed plenty of them. “Across all formats there are plenty. But winning in red-ball cricket across the globe – West Indies, Sri Lanka, Australia, England we are leading the series. It could be the longest lead in the history of cricket because the next Test is next year. To go across and beat all these sides every team in white-ball cricket – T20 or 50 over – we have beaten sides in their den which was my endeavour and team’s endeavour. We were always labelled as big bullies at home, but when you had to travel outside you didn’t have the goods. But this team has shown they have more and plenty of that.”

Shastri welcomed the appointment of Rahul Dravid as his successor to the head coach job. Dravid will take over from the home series against New Zealand, starting November 17. “In Rahul Dravid, they’ve got a guy who has inherited a great team and I think with his experience, he can only raise the bar in time to come. There are still players here who will play for another 3-4 years which is very important. It is not a team in transition and that’ll make the biggest difference. Virat is still there, he has done a fantastic job as the leader of the side, he’s been the biggest ambassador for Test cricket over the last five years. Lot of credit goes to him in the way he’s thought about how he wants the team to play the game and how the team has rallied around him.”

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Shastri stressed upon rest as his biggest learning from his tenure as the coach of the Indian team and added that a break between the IPL and T20 WC would have been ideal. “Rest. I am mentally drained but I expect that at my age. These guys are physically and mentally drained, six months in a bubble and we would have ideally liked a bigger gap between the IPL and the World Cup. It’s when the big games come and when the pressure hits you – you are not that switched on as you should be. And it’s not an excuse. We take defeat because we are not scared of losing. Because in trying to win, you will lose a game. Here we didn’t try to win because that X-factor was missing.”

–IANS

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