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regular-article-logo Friday, 01 March 2024

Team India will be serious challenger for 2024 T20 World Cup title: Ravi Shastri

Former head coach’s opinion is based on a strong nucleus in the Indian team in the shortest format

Our Bureau Mumbai Published 28.11.23, 07:21 AM
Arshdeep Singh (left) and Axar Patel will play key roles in India’s T20 set up.

Arshdeep Singh (left) and Axar Patel will play key roles in India’s T20 set up. PTI picture

India were the favourites to win the ODI World Cup this year, but they couldn't. Now, former head coach Ravi Shastri thinks India will be a "serious challenger" in next year's T20 World Cup too.

Shastri's opinion is based on a strong nucleus in the Indian team in the shortest format. But the former captain also highlighted the importance of rising to the occasion in knockout games to emerge triumphant.

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It has been more than a week since Australia trumped India, in what turned out to be a one-sided final in Ahmedabad, with the country's cricket fraternity still reeling with the outcome, given that the hosts had a 10-match unbeaten run going into the title clash. But Shastri sees hope for the future.

Next year's T20 World Cup will be played in the Caribbean and the USA from June 4.

"It was heartbreaking but a lot of our guys will learn, the game moves on, and I see India winning a World Cup very soon," Shastri said during the registration launch of the Indian Street Premier League here.

"It might not be a 50-overs (Cup) that easily because you have to rebuild the side, but 20-overs cricket, the very next one (World Cup), India will be a very serious challenger because you have got the nucleus. This is a shorter format of the game. Your focus should be on that."

With the presence of impact players such as Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Rinku Singh, India have a strong T20 core.

Shastri admitted that it still hurts to recall that India, who were the strongest team in the ODI World Cup, did not deliver in the final.

"To be honest, it still hurts from the outside, that we could not win the Cup... because we were the strongest team. Nothing comes easy — even the great man, Sachin Tendulkar, had to wait (for) six World Cups to win one. You don't win (a) World Cup (easily), to win a World Cup you have got to be damn good on that big day," Shastri said.

"What you do earlier does not count, on that big day, that is when you rise to the occasion. Even before the start of the tournament, you knew what happens (in terms of the format).

"Once top four teams are there, in the semi-final and final, those two days if you perform, you win. And those were the two days when Australia performed when they came from nowhere," he said.

"They lost the first two, but on the D-day, the two days, they did (win)," Shastri said about Australia, who won the 50-over World Cup title for a record sixth time.

With the Indian bowlers performing in unison led by Mohammed Shami, who claimed 24 wickets, Shastri said it gave India the "best chance". "The way the bowling stood up towards the mid-stage of the tournament, you thought they had a great, great chance," he said.

With inputs from PTI

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