CHENNAI: Former India head coach Ravi Shastri said that the first Powerplay in both innings could strongly influence the outcome of the World Cup final.
Ahead of the India-Australia duel in Ahmedabad, Shastri, in an exclusive interaction with TOI that was facilitated by DP World, spoke about the marquee clash, the phase of play which could prove vital in the final, Virat Kohli‘s blazing form, skipper Rohit Sharma‘s ‘last dance’ and more.
On the World Cup decider: When India played Australia in Chennai on October 8, I said this is the dress rehearsal of the final. That happened a month-and-a-half ago and it has come true. I genuinely believe that India and Australia were the two teams who had it in them to make it to the final. India will start as the favourites, with the way they are playing.
On where the final could be won or lost: I think that the first 10 overs are very crucial. India have got some great starts, especially with the way Rohit has exploded at the top. That makes a difference. Similarly with Australia, if they take off, that will give them a lot of confidence. David Warner, Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh are dangerous players.
On Virat Kohli’s impact: He is writing his own script, the kind of form he is in. Do not be surprised if another hundred is around the corner. He did it in the semifinals and he might as well do it in the final. There is nothing bigger than that.
On seeing his efforts as ex-head coach bear fruit: It is very heartening and I am desperate for them to win. When I was there, I was very disappointed that a team of this calibre did not win the World Cup. When I left, I said to the boys: “You deserve to win the World Cup. Stay focused, be determined and the time will come.” That time has come. A guy like Rohit, he is a giant in white-ball cricket. For him to go without a World Cup in his career, will not be great. This is the last opportunity for six or seven players to win it.
On India’s much-envied pace battery: This is the best fast-bowling attack India have ever had in white-ball cricket. There are three terrific fast bowlers (Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj) and then there are quality spinners in Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav. The skill sets are so good; it lends you a lot of variety. They do not need a pitch (of a certain type) to suit them; they can go anywhere in this world with this attack.