Coach Shastri gets his bragging rights

Coach Shastri gets his bragging rights

Last Updated: Mon, Aug 07, 2017 11:34 hrs
Ravindra Jadeja took a five-wicket haul as India decimated Sri Lanka to clinch the series

Before the beginning of the Colombo Test, Head Coach Ravi Shastri bragged about the current Indian cricket team led by Virat Kohli and said it could go where no Indian team had ever gone before and hence become the best ever.

Even captaincy legend Sourav Ganguly chose not to comment on the above and evaded a direct answer when asked about it. However with the way the series has panned out so far, one must say that Shastri has definitely earned his bragging rights.

Two straight 600s in the first innings on a Test on foreign soil. Two straight crushing defeats for the Sri Lankans. No double centuries. No five-wicket hauls in the first Test. It was a clear all-round team effort where every player chipped in.

Sir Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin are on a roll and occupy the top two slots in the ICC Test bowling rankings. They are also in the top three in the all-rounder rankings.

In the batting department, Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara are in the top five.

Just look at the bench strength of this team. Rohit Sharma averaged 79.3 in the New Zealand Test series, the last he played. He's not found a place in the Playing XI so far.

Karun Nair became only the second Indian Test triple centurion in 80 odd years. He's not even in the squad.

Abhinav Mukund makes an impressive 81 in first Test at Galle, took a spectacular catch and affected an amazing run out. He was dropped to make way for KL Rahul.

Kuldeep Yadav impressed in his first Test in an earlier series, was the top wicket taker in only practice match before Test series. He is also not in the team.

Our best opener Murali Vijay is injured and there is no place for our most experienced pacer Ishant Sharma.

Shastri certainly knows what he is talking about! This also happens to be our 8th straight Test series victory.

Kohli, the Emperor of Sri Lanka

From 1985-2010, all Indian captains combined just four Tests on Sri Lankan soil and that resulted in just one series victory, the one led Mohammed Azharuddin in 1993.Now Kohli has just won four straight Tests on the trot from 2015-17 for his second straight Test series victory on Sri Lankan soil!

Kohli is truly the emperor of Sri Lanka. He has a chance to make it one better in the final Test at Kandy. If he wins that, then he would beat all Indian captains 5-4 in terms of Test victories on Sri Lankan soil.

Can we get our first ever overseas 3-0?

Shastri mentioned that this team can go where no other Indian team has gone before. Well they have a chance now. India has never ever won a Test series outside India 3-0 or better. 2-0 is our best which we first did in England in 1986 and more recently in West Indies in 2016.

The only time we won 3 Test matches in an overseas series was way back in 1968 in New Zealand and that was a 3-1 and the credit for that went to the then young captain MAK Pataudi. It is amazing that after close to 50 years we are yet to match that feat.

If Kohli's boys manage to win the Kandy Test, then it would be our second series where we won three Tests in half a century and the first ever 3-0 ever. The series may be already in the bag, but now that's really something to play for!

The glorious new millennium

This was India's 141st Test win ever. Three captains dominate that list: MS Dhoni (27), Ganguly (21) and Kohli (18). That means these three alone have won a whopping 66/141 Tests or 47%! Kohli's not done yet and that number will be more than half of all total wins by the time he retires.

The contrast is starker if you look at the old century (1932-99) versus the new one (2000-17). We won just 61 Tests in the old century and a good 80 in the new one which is just 17 years old.

Of course that also has to do with the fact that we are playing more Tests now and there are weaker teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to boost the tally. But it is a great achievement all the same and we have captured the ICC No. 1 rankings multiple times and currently do so, leading the second placed team by a huge margin.

More from Sify: