New Delhi [India], May 27 (ANI): Ravi Shastri, the man behind some of India's most iconic triumphs as a talented all-rounder and later as the head coach, turned 61 on Saturday.
In his international cricket career which panned from 1981 to 1992, Shastri served as a highly-useful all-rounder, capable of playing any role for his team and grinding it out in tough situations. He often played as an opener or in the middle order while batting and could deliver some crucial overs of left-arm spin too.
Shastri had a solid Test record. In 80 Test matches, he scored 3,830 runs at an average of 35.79. He scored 11 centuries and 12 fifties in 121 innings of his career, with the best individual score of 206. The all-rounder also has taken 151 wickets, with best bowling figures of 5/75.
In Tests, the all-rounder loved playing against Australia. In 9 matches against Australia, Shastri scored 622 runs in 10 innings at an average of 77.75, with two centuries and a fifty, with the best score of 206. About one-third of his runs came against debutant Shane Warne in 1992, as the tall Indian attacked the young Aussie legspinner on his way to a double hundred at Sydney, which till this day remains perhaps his finest innings.
Shastri was also great in ODIs, having scored 3,108 runs at an average of 29.04. He scored four centuries and 18 fifties in 128 innings for India in ODIs, with best score of 109. He also took 129 wickets in the 50-over format, with best bowling figures of 5/15.
Shastri is part of the team which won the 50-over Cricket World Cup in 1983. In the tournament, he scored 40 runs in five innings, with the best score of 17 and took a total of four wickets, with the best bowling spell of 3/26.
Another career-defining moment came for Shastri in 1985 when he played a big role in his team's win at the World Championship of Cricket, defeating arch-rivals Pakistan in the final.
Shastri won the 'Man of the Tournament' award for scoring 182 runs in five matches at an average of 45.50, with three fifties. He also took eight wickets, finishing as joint-third highest wicket-taker.
After the conclusion of his international cricket career in 1992, he was heard as a commentator. His authoritative voice, enthusiasm and knowledge of the game make him one of the country's most beloved commentators. His calls during India's winning moments in T20 World Cup 2007 and ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 still live in the minds of millions.
Shastri was also appointed as India's head coach in July 2017. His contract was extended during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and he was reappointed as coach in August 2019. He stayed as India's coach till the 2021 T20 World Cup. During his coaching days, his pairing with skipper Virat Kohli proved to be extremely successful, especially in overseas conditions. The aggression displayed by the duo often seeped into the rest of the team.
With this aggression, India clinched landmark wins in England, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. India's record in these countries, known as SENA countries, improved under his tenure. He oversaw India's series wins in England, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia in different formats of the game. Out of these, India's successive Border-Gavaskar Trophy wins in 2018-19 and 2020-21 are treasured the most by fans, given that India had never defeated Australia in Tests, the purest format of the game in Australian territory. India's 2020-21 BGT title win, a tour marked by absence of key players like Virat Kohli, injuries, inexperience in the squad and racial abuse remains as one of the country's greatest sporting performances.
Under him, India also reached the semifinal of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.
Over the years, the cricketing world has seen many sides of this all-rounder. Shastri has emerged as a personality who won India many matches as a player, entertained and educated millions of fans with his energetic, knowledge-filled commentary and guided new generations of Indian cricket to landmark wins as a coach. (ANI)