With Ravi Shastri around, there is no moment that doesn’t have any form of entertainment. It’s been just over a year since the reins of the head coach have been passed on to Rahul Dravid.
India has achieved massive success under Shastri by winning two consecutive Border-Gavaskar trophies in Australia, which includes breaching Australia’s fortress, Gabba. He also took Indian Test cricket to the next level.
His energy is like an infectious source of motivation for all players. The promise of being the best touring team in the world has been fulfilled.
India’s Mr 360, Suryakumar Yadav, made his debut under Ravi Shastri but started showing his potential during the Dravid era. Suryakumar’s journey to his India debut hasn’t been one of the easiest, as he made his debut at 30.
In 2020 Yadav scored almost 500 runs for Mumbai Indians and wasn’t taken for the series to Australia. This shocked quite a few people. Speaking about his debut, Suryakumar Yadav told ESPNCricinfo’s Cricket Monthly.
“On the day of the game, he (Shastri) called me and he was like: ‘Do the things you do, don’t think too much, attack. First punch dena unko‘ [Land the first punch]. I said: ‘Yes sir, I’ll try and do that.’ It was really motivating to hear that on the day of the game.
“I don’t know what impact it would have made if he had told me before game day, but it was in the afternoon. I was having lunch and he called me and said, ‘You are playing today, you are making your debut.” I was like, ‘Wow, this is the day I have been waiting for’.”
“I started getting that feeling” – Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav further added that Ravi Shastri called him by the pool to share the news with him. The Mumbai Indians batter also revealed the message the former head coach shared with him. He added:
“I was having lunch, me and my wife. She is like, “Your phone is ringing.” I picked it up and he [Shastri] said: “Come down, I’m sitting at the pool.” I started getting that feeling, that, boss, there is some good news. I went and he was like, “You will play today.”
“The next two-three minutes whatever he said, it was all going here and there because I was thinking to myself, “What!? I’m making my debut today”. He was like, “Just enjoy yourself, be fearless, express yourself.” I was just dying to go on the ground that day.”
Suryakumar Yadav played his first ball for a six delivered by Jofra Archer and played as if he belonged on this stage. He is going through a purple patch scoring 800+ runs at a strike rate above 180 this year. This includes several fifties and a century at Trent Bridge earlier this year. He will be crucial to India’s chances in Australia.