Former India head coach Ravi Shastri opened up on one of his selection discussions with Virat Kohli during his tenure.
India had lost the 2017 Champions Trophy final to arch-rivals Pakistan in London. In the aftermath of the result, Anil Kumble, who was then head coach, stepped down from the role after his fallout with Kohli.
Ravi Shastri replaced Anil Kumble in 2017
Shastri replaced Kumble as India’s new head coach and his first assignment was India’s tour of Sri Lanka in August.
Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan was coming from a great Champions Trophy, where he accumulated 338 runs from five innings at an average of 67.60.
Tamil Nadu player Murali Vijay, who was India’s regular opener in that period, was not available for Tests because of an injury.
Ravi Shastri explains Shikhar Dhawan’s selection for Sri Lanka Tests
Shastri proposed Dhawan’s name as Vijay’s replacement to Kohli but the Indian skipper wasn’t convinced with the suggestion. Somehow Shastri pushed Dhawan into the team and he made a couple of hundreds from four innings including 190 in the first Test in Galle.
“I remember one when people talk about selection… and it was a great selection. Shikhar Dhawan, he was not going to play, he was not in the mix. He had a good Champions trophy. I went to Virat and said, ‘this is the guy’, but he said ‘no’. He said ‘we were thinking about giving someone a run. So we thought we will carry on with this process,” Shastri said on Star Sports.
“I said ‘No, give this guy a go. He is looking dangerous. He is looking good. If he gets going, he will win you the match in a session. The first game he plays, he gets 190 before tea. That was it. The stamp on the series was right there. And then once they lost the first game, it was one after the other,” he added.
India blanked Sri Lanka 3-0 in the Test series before thumping them in limited-overs by 5-0 in ODIs and 1-0 in the only T20I match they played.