Indian head coach Ravi Shastri bats for three-match finals for World Test Championship

Shastri said in the long run, a best of three final would be an ideal set up for a two year cycle of Test Championship.

Former India all-rounder and current head of coach of Indian cricket team Ravi Shastri stated that a best of three finals would be ideal for World Test Championship (WTC) in the long run.

Shastri and India captain Virat Kohli in a virtual interaction addressed the media before flying to the UK on June 2. Excerpts –

Shastri feels a best of three matches would be a better fit for the WTC final.
“I think ideally, in the long run, if they want to pursue this Test championship, a best of three final would be ideal. A three-match series as a culmination of two and a half years of cricket. But they need to finish off the Future Tours Program (FTP) and then start all over again.”

Shastri stated that the WTC final is the biggest Test match if not the biggest ever.
“See, it is the first time that you have a Test Championship final. When you look at the magnitude of the game that’s going to be played, I think this is the biggest, if not the biggest ever, because it’s the toughest form of the game. It’s a format that tests you. It’s not happened 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 finals so it’s one heck of an event,” he said.

Kohli seconded coach Shastri’s thoughts about the WTC final.

“This holds a lot of value. Especially this being the first of its kind. And in the toughest format. All of us take a lot of pride in playing Test cricket, and the way, we have progressed as a side is an example of what Test cricket means to us. So, for all of us as a unit, those who have been part of the Test side for many years, this is like an accumulation of all the hard work time of not just the duration of the championship but the last five-six years. Since the time we started coming up the ranks and building up aside. We are very very happy to play in the final.” he said.

Kohli and Shastri both agreed that a one-off final would not change many things for the Indian side.  WTC final or the upcoming five-match Test series against the hosts England, Kohli stressed both won’t be the destination or final goal. Kohli pointed out commitment was being the best team in the world.

“One-off is a one-off, and the guys have earned their stripes. This is not a team that has blossomed overnight. Five years No. 1. When you start being on top or playing cricket at the highest level or competing against the best, you can pull yourself out of tough situations. As you have seen time and time again, there have been many times when this side has pulled itself out of big problems and gone on to win the series. So I think the final is a great victory for the boys.” Shastri said.

“I don’t think that there is any frontier for us. If you look at our transition, the transition was smooth for us. Because we are committed to keeping Indian cricket on top. Being the best team in the world. We have continued to do that. In Test cricket, we have finished No. 1 for a few years in a row.” Kohli stated.

“Now you see youngsters coming in so there is another transition going on within the team so I don’t think this is the final frontier and after this, we have no idea where to go. This is an ongoing process to keep the standard of Indian cricket high and we have done our duty for the last five-six years with absolute commitment. Now in the transition phase, our responsibility is to instill the same passion and commitment in the next lot of players so we remain on top for more years to come. And that’s how the progress of cricket happens.”  Kohli added.

“We have worked hard for the finals. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that we were probably going to be the first team to be featured in that final because of the way we have played the last few years. For us, it is just about keeping those standards high. It’s like football. If you win one championship, you don’t stop working hard. You wanna win two and three and four. This is exactly our mindset. If you have made the final once, we want to win it. Then restructure, plan, move ahead for the next three-four years and again plan to be the top side in the world.” concluded Kohli.

India will play the World Test Championship finals against New Zealand from June 18 to 22 at The Rose Bowl in Southampton, England. Followed by five-match Test series against hosts England starting from August 4.

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