Mumbai: Former head coach Ravi Shastri firmly believes that India will be a “serious challenger” in the next year’s T20 World Cup due to a strong nucleus in the shortest format but reminded that rising to the occasion in knockout games is a must to emerge triumphant.
It has been more than a week since Australia trumped India, in what turned out to be a one-sided final in Ahmedabad, with the country’s cricket fraternity still reeling with the outcome, given that the hosts had a 10-match unbeaten run going into the title clash.
Shastri said India have found a nucleus of young players ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup, to be played in the Caribbean and the USA from June 4 next year.
“It was heartbreaking but a lot of our guys will learn, the game moves on, and I see India winning a World Cup very soon,” Shastri said.
“It might not be a 50-overs (one) that easily because you have to rebuild the side but 20-overs cricket, the very next one India will be very serious challenger because you have got the nucleus. This is a shorter format of the game. Your focus should be on that.” With the presence of impact players such as Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Rinku Singh, India have a strong T20 core.
Shastri admitted that it still hurts to recall that India, who were the strongest team in the competition, did not deliver in the final.
“To be honest, it still hurts from the outside, that we could not win the cup because we were the strongest team.” “Nothing comes easy — even the great man Sachin Tendulkar had to wait (for) six World Cups to win one. You don’t win (a) World Cup (easily), to win a World Cup you have got to be damn good on that big day,” Shastri said during the registration launch of the Indian Street Premier League here.
“What you do earlier does not count, on that big day, that is when you rise to the occasion. Even before the start of the tournament you knew that, what happens (in terms of the format).
‘Early doors (are there), (and) once top four teams are there, in the semifinal and final, those two days if you perform, you win. And those were the two days when Australia performed when they came from nowhere,” said the former India skipper.
“They lost the first two, but on the D-day, the two days, they did,” Shastri said about Australia, who won the 50-over World Cup title for a record sixth time. With the Indian bowlers performing in unison led by Mohammed Shami, who claimed 24 wickets, Shastri said it gave India the ‘best chance’.
“The way the bowling stood up towards the mid stage of the tournament you thought they had a great, great chance,” he said.

India will be serious challenger for 2024 T20 World Cup title: Shastri added by on
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