‘It became a massive problem’: Ravi Shastri explains the reason that cost India a ‘couple of World Cups’

Former cricketer Ravi Shastri enjoyed a memorable stint as Team India head coach. Shastri, whose tenure as India head coach ended after his team’s group stage exit from the T20 World Cup last year, took the Test team to greater heights, leading them to series victories in Australia while also achieving the number 1 world ranking in the Test format.

However, what eluded Ravi Shastri during his time as Team India head coach were agonising exits in global ICC tournaments. India’s 2019 ODI World Cup ended in heartbreak following their semi-final defeat to New Zealand, and even surrendered the 2021 World Test Championship title to the same opponents in the final. Later last year, the Men in Blue suffered a group stage exit from the T20 World Cup in UAE, having failed to beat Pakistan and New Zealand.

The 60-year-old recently opened up on the reasoning of India’s failure to win ICC tournaments, focussing on the lack of a proper all-rounder in the team. Shastri went onto say that Hardik Pandya’s injury cost India a ‘couple of World Cups’.

“I have always wanted a guy who could bowl in top-6. And with Hardik getting injured, it became a massive problem. And it cost India. It cost India a couple of World Cups,” said Shastri on FanCode.

“Because we didn’t have anyone who could bowl in the top six. So, that was a liability. We told the selectors, ‘look for someone’. But then, who is there?” added the former all-rounder.

Hardik had sustained a back injury during the 2018 Asia Cup, and struggled with the injury for the next three years.

Hardik had recovered enough to play in the IPL and the 2019 World Cup, but the injury resurfaced post that, and in October, the all-rounder underwent a successful surgery for it.

Hardik worked on his recovery post the T20 World Cup 2021, making himself unavailable for selection, and made a strong comeback in the IPL this year, leading debutants Gujarat Titans to the title while scoring 483 runs and scalping eight wickets in the season.

Hardik has once again rediscovered himself as a first-team regular. He, however, has been rested for the ongoing ODIs against West Indies in the Caribbean, but will return to the squad for the T20I series.

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