Cricket News: Ravi Shastri has told an unusual incident from his time as India’s head coach in 2017, in which his support for a great batter paid off despite captain Virat Kohli’s opposition. India had travelled to Sri Lanka for a three-match Test series shortly after winning the Champions Trophy, with the BCCI-named squad prepared to get right into the heart of things.
However, it was revealed that Murali Vijay, one of the team’s top opening batters, had not fully healed from wrist surgery. In came a replacement batter who had not played for a long time but had Shastri’s backing for a spot in the Playing XI.
Shikhar Dhawan was the replacement. With 338 runs at an average of 67.60, the left-handed batter was the leading scorer in the Champions Trophy. With Vijay injured, Shastri recalls attempting to persuade Virat Kohli to include Dhawan in the lineup for the first Test in Galle, but the skipper was not keen on the idea.
“When people talk about selection, I remember one… and it was a terrific selection.” Shikhar Dhawan wasn’t going to play, and he wasn’t even in the running. He was the proud owner of a Champions trophy. I approached Virat and said, “This is person,” but he declined. ‘We were thinking of giving someone a run,’ he continued.
Shastri continued by saying that he would have to persuade Kohli to give Dhawan a spot in the XI. Having said that, the move paid off as the left-handed batter hammered 190 off just 168 balls in two sessions on Day 1 with 31 fours on his return to the XI. India won the Test by a mammoth 304 runs, but Sri Lanka could never recover from that early onslaught and was blanked 0-3 to give India a stunning Test series win.
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