Sun, 18 Apr 2021

Shastri gives take on WTC final qualification

ANI
07 Mar 2021, 18:37 GMT+10

Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 7 (ANI): India head coach Ravi Shastri on Sunday said that his side had to dig deep in order to qualify for the World Test Championship (WTC) final as the rules were changed midway due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Team India on Saturday roared into the final of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) following an emphatic 3-1 series win over England.

Virat Kohli's men, who defeated England in the fourth and final Test by an innings and 25 runs at the Narendra Modi Stadium, will now face New Zealand in the WTC final slated to be played from June 18 to 22, with June 23 as the reserve day at the iconic Lord's Stadium in London.

"I am not worried about the next WTC cycle, I am thinking of the first cycle. If you ask me about the problems in the first cycle, please do not shift the goalpost. I am sitting at home during Covid-19, right in the month of October-November. You have got more points than any other team in the world. 360 at that time, suddenly, a week later without playing any cricket, there is a rule that comes stating that the points would be decided on the percentage system and go from number one to three. Fine, that's because of countries not wanting to travel, all acceptable and fine.

"I want to understand the logic behind this, what is the way forward for me? I have to go to Australia, sitting comfortably at the top spot, leading by 60-70 points. They say you have to go to Australia, you have to beat Australia. How many teams in the last ten years can say with guarantee that we will beat Australia? The reason I am saying this, you are sitting at the top of the table, percentage system, you have to go to Australia and beat Australia. If you do not beat Australia, you come back home and beat England 4-0, you get close to 500 points and you still do not qualify. We have had to dig deep, we have had to go down every hole that is needed to find water. Do not ask me about the next cycle, first, let's finish this cycle," he added.

Speaking about the big squads that were picked because of Covid-19 and quarantine protocols, Shastri said: "This is the most positive thing to come out of this bubble because of the bubble, you had to go with large squads. Because of the bubbles and quarantine rules, you had to go with 25-30 players. As a result, you had to dig deep and pick your best 30 players and as luck would have it, we had no choice to play every member. You found out who is good and who is not. It is a good headache to have and it is something that has worked well. If you said Natarajan would play a Test match, you would have said no way. Even Washington Sundar, you would have said no way. These are things you would not imagine but circumstances make it happen. I am glad the youngsters who got the opportunity cracked it open."India finished as the number one team with 72.2 percentage points in the WTC points table, the factor that determined the final placings rather than total points won, following a change to the points system owing to the Covid-19 disruption.

The Black Caps were the first team to ensure a place in the final with 70 percentage points. Australia finished third with 69.2 percentage points while England ended with 61.4 percentage points at the fourth position.

The Black Caps had qualified for the WTC final following the postponement of the Test series between South Africa and Australia. In November last year, the ICC had confirmed that the WTC points system would be amended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (ANI)

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