India vs Australia – Ravi Shastri, Rahul Dravid, Team Physio, Trainer and Support Staff Deserve Credit For India’s Success Down Under

India vs Australia - Ravi Shastri, Rahul Dravid, Team Physio, Trainer and Support Staff Deserve Credit For India's Success Down Under

“Forget India, the whole world will stand up and salute you” – these were Ravi Shastri’s words as he congratulated team India after their thrilling win at The Gabba. Such was the occasion, such was the achievement. India, against all odds, adversities, injuries, a hostile crowd and Australian media, fought courageously and with bravado to beat a full strength Australia for a second successive time in their own backyard. The historic series win was completed with a historic chase at the Fortress Gabba where Australia had not lost a Test for 32 years.

Shastri praised the superhuman effort of Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, the debutants and inexperienced bowlers, the calm and resilient captain, Ajinkya Rahane whose brilliant hundred at the MCG started the fightback. He also heaped praise on the support staff without whom this memorable win would not have been possible.

Shastri himself deserves a lot of credit for doing an exceptional job in managing the team in trying conditions and circumstances in Australia. A fine all-rounder for India, he is regarded as an excellent man-manager suited to the Indian ethos, culture and tradition where more high-profile names like Greg Chappell amongst others have failed. Managing a team as diverse as India’s with players from all walks of life, backgrounds, regions, religions is a herculean task and Shastri has always had the qualities to not only maintain camaraderie in the dressing room but also motivate the individuals to keep the team first and inspire them to produce their best in adverse conditions.

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It cannot be a coincidence that two of India’s greatest series wins in Test cricket (Australia 2018-19 and Australia 2020-21) have come under his mentorship. Shastri is a fine communicator, an excellent motivator, an astute student and observer of the game and someone who is not shy of taking on the Western media and commentators and former players. A classic example of this was witnessed in England in 2011 when he gave it off to Nasser Hussain.

It is this bullish headstrong and mentally tough attitude and character of Shastri which makes him stand out. It is also the reason why he gets under the skin of a number of opposition players, coaches and commentators, especially the ones who cannot digest the shifting of cricketing power to India. But this is why Shastri is so good for the new age India and for this team. He speaks his mind, is direct and defends his country and team – those are great attributes in a man-manager and coach. Apart from that he is a great reader of the game and pays attention to detail.

It is for these reasons that Virat Kohli trusts Shastri and wants him by his side and by the side of the Indian cricket team. India were down and out after being routed for 36 in Adelaide. Kohli was to take off for India soon. The morale was low, the heads were dropping. Who could the team look up to after their captain had left the shores of Australia? This is where Shastri’s genius came in. He was the mentor, the guide and the motivator. He told the team not to give up. To fight. To show character!

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Obituaries were being written. 4-0 Australia by Clarke, Mark Waugh – every one and any one. But Shastri through his words, speeches and dressing room inspiration, had the belief in the team and ethos he had built over the last few years. And the team did not fail him or the process.

The team fought injury after injury after injury. There were strict quarantine protocols, controversies for eating in a Melbourne restaurant, racial abuse by the crowds and taunts on and off the field by current and former Australian players. But time and time and time again, the Indian team fought back – at MCG with Rahane leading the way, at the SCG with Pujara and Pant and then Vihari and Ashwin with the bat saving the Test as if their life depended on it. Sundar and Thakur, with little precious experience at this level forged a match-changing partnership in the first innings at The Gabba and then Gill, Pujara and Pant pulled off the greatest chase of all times to win a historic Test and series.

But the man behind the scenes, working day in and day out keeping the morale high amidst strict quarantine protocols, keeping the controversies at bay when the Australian media were trying to stir more and more, maintaining bonhomie and enthusiasm in the team and making sure they had their best XI for the ultimate heist – Ravishankar Jayadritha Shastri.

It does not come as a surprise then that Kohli credits Shastri for instilling a fearless attitude in the team. Shardul Thakur was also inspired by the words of his head coach when he walked out to bat at 186 for 6 in the first innings at The Gabba. Shastri had told the team, “’if you perform in this country, you will be rewarded”. The result a motivated performance with the bat from Thakur and a match-changing 123 run stand for the seventh wicket with Washington Sundar. The rest is history.

Although his role is pivotal, Shastri alone is not responsible for the success of Team India. Bharat Arun, the bowling coach, has transformed a whole generation of fast bowlers in India. Not only has he helped in creating the most feared fast bowling quartet in the world but also created a fantastic reserve bench in Siraj, Saini, Thakur and Natarajan. R Sridhar, the fielding coach, has also worked tirelessly with the boys to make India a better fielding unit. Although there were a few dropped catches there were some stunners as well including a few run-outs and the credit for that must go to Sridhar.

A lot of praise and accolades should also be showered on Rahul Dravid – the head of the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. Under his guidance almost every young hero for India in Australia in 2020-21 – Gill, Pant, Thakur, Siraj and Sundar – were nurtured and mentored to take the step from first class cricket to the biggest stage playing for India. Not only did he impart his technical expertise but also shared his vast and enriching experience as a batsman – temperament and mental toughness being his strongest attributes.

Nitin Patel, India’s physiotherapist, and Nick Webb- the team trainer also played their part in a team battling with injuries throughout the tour. They made sure that players carrying niggles like Pant and Agarwal were fit enough to play the decider in Brisbane while keeping the others fresh and ready.  Girish Dongre, the team manager, also did a stellar job ensuring everything was under control in the constantly changing bio-bubble and quarantine protocols in Australia.

A complete team effort and Shastri’s words best described the effort of the entire unit in Australia – “The courage, the resolve, the spirit, that the Indian team have shown is unreal.”


CNN-News18 is an Indian English-language news television channel founded by Rajdeep Sardesai located in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is currently owned by Network 18. CNN provides international coverage for the channel, while Indian Broadcasting Network concentrates on Indian and local reports.

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