“It’s the first time there’s a World Test Championship final, so when you look at that and the magnitude of the game that’s going to be played, I think it’s going to be the biggest, because it’s the toughest form of cricket and it’s not happening over three days or three months. It’s happened over two years, where teams have played each other around the world and earned their stripes to play the final. So, it’s surely one heck of an event,” Shastri said ahead of the team’s departure as Kohli nodded in agreement.
Ideally, in the long run, if the ICC should pursue the idea of a Test championship, Shastri is of the view that “a three-match series and a best-of-three” would serve better as a culmination of two-and-half-years of cricket played across the world.
“But we’ve got to finish what’s ahead of us because of the FTP that’s going to start all over again. So, for now, one-off is a one-off and the guys have earned their stripes. This is not a team that has blossomed overnight. To stay No. 1 repeatedly over a period of five or six years is phenomenal,” the head coach added.
🗣️ Happy to have the opportunity to play the World Test Championship Final: #TeamIndia Captain @imVkohli ☺️ https://t.co/jjFEwEisrD
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1622646028000
Not just against Australia and England, this Indian team has ended up pulling the rabbit out of the hat on several occasions in the last few years, “pulling itself out of big problems and going on to win the series”.
“The final is a great victory for the boys. When you start playing cricket at the highest level, and start competing against the best, you have the ability to pull yourself out of tough situation, time and again,” Shastri said, highlighting India’s chances in the final and underlining how Kohli’s team is well capable of tuning in to the conditions without warm-ups.
💬💬 #TeamIndia Head Coach @RaviShastriOfc on whether the ICC World Test Championship Final is like playing the World… https://t.co/ogvWvNHbgj
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1622643478000
While the Indian team will be away in England over the next three months, another Indian team could potentially be on its way to Sri Lanka to play a white-ball series, a fact that underlines how strong India’s bench has turned out to be in the last five years.
Could the idea of two Indian teams be a regular norm going forward? “At the moment it is because of the current situation with restrictions in travel,” says Shastri. “But you never know, in the future if you want to expand the game, especially in the shorter formats, then it could be the way forward. Why not?
“If you have that much volume of cricketers and if you want to spread the T20 game, then that could be the way ahead. If you are thinking about the Olympics in four- or eight-years’ time then you need more countries to play the game,” Shastri stressed.