Indian men’s cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri’s first international assignment in more than nine months would be the tour of Australia later this year. India will travel down under to partake in a mouth-watering four-Test series against a full-strength Australian side, unlike in 2018-19. And Ravi Shastri believes the 2020 IPL edition could not have come in a better time.
The last time India played an international game was back in February against New Zealand in a two-Test series they lost. Since then, all their commitments have either stood postponed or cancelled, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The home series against South Africa and the tour of Sri Lanka were amongst those. However, Cricket Australia has announced the fixtures of India’s visit later this year for which the BCCI also agreed.
Ravi Shastri underlined that it was a literal shock to the system as all the cricketing activities in a country came to a halt for five months. He stated it was the first time since the second world war that it happened and ended up destroying plenty of livelihoods in the nation.
“Here we are talking about not playing cricket for five months, the sport had come to a halt for six years during World War II. Nobody saw it coming, it was a shock to the system which destroyed so many lives and livelihood…what can you do about it!” Ravi Shastri told Gulf News.
The former Indian cricketer further said that with all the Indian players out of action for five months, there is no home and away advantage. He feels relieved that the sport is beginning with T20s and not Tests as the former gets done in three hours. Ravi Shastri continued saying that the cash-rich league could not have come at a better time, giving Virat Kohli & co match time.
“All the Indian players have been out of action for the last five months, while there is no home and away advantage as well. The good thing is they are starting with the T-20 format and not Test matches, which gets over in just over three hours. The IPL could not have come at a better time as it would give some match time to Virat Kohli and the boys. It offers the UAE a chance to make a big statement if they can pull it off without a hitch,” the 58-year old conceded.
Ravi Shastri backs UAE to host bilateral series and ICC events if the IPL goes well:
The 58-year old went on to state that UAE is the correct choice if the IPL had to happen overseas due to the impressive infrastructure and the number of Indian expatriates here. The Mumbai-born believes that if IPL could transpire without any stutter, UAE could be in line to host any bilateral series or ICC events. The 13th edition of IPL kickstarts on the 19th of September in Abu Dhabi as Mumbai Indians will take on Chennai Super Kings in the opening game.
“I had said during the 2014 edition of IPL here that it’s just the right choice if the IPL had to ever move overseas – because of the excellent infrastructure and an overwhelming number of Indian expats here. As things stand out, there are not too many countries in the world now which can safely host international matches in view of the COVID-19 situation. If all goes well, then UAE should be in the running to host any major ICC event as well as bilateral series in future,” he added further.