India has been in unstoppable form in the Southern Hemisphere, first beating Australia and then crossing the Tasman Sea to tame New Zealand in the ODI series. The Indian coach Ravi Shastri has, naturally, been pleased with the performance and has reiterated his statement that this team is the 'best travelling team'.
The Indian players have been away from home for nearly three months and with only the T20I series left before they return to India, Shastri sat down with Cricbuzz for an exclusive interview. Here the Indian coach talked about the team's overseas performance and the Test series victory in Australia.
Shoved overseas tours into the bin
"What this team has done is taken that word 'overseas' and shoved it into a bin. These players can shove it into the bin for as long as they play cricket. In four years, they have won more in overseas cricket than any other Indian team, across all formats," Shastri said when asked about his comment that the current India crop is the most well-travelled team in the nation's cricketing history.
Shastri brought up India's records under his reign as the coach to back up his claim. He spoke about his first visit to South Africa as the coach and how India won the ODI series 5-1. He also brought up India's 3-1 ODI series victory in England from 2014 and 3-0 T20I series victory in Australia in 2016.
In the same vein, Shastri also referenced India's successes in Sri Lanka.
"In between, we went to Sri Lanka and India haven't won there ever. People talk - subcontinent, subcontinent, etc. But we hadn't beaten them in Sri Lanka in 23 years. Look at the Indian teams that have gone to Sri Lanka in the past and the players who have gone there, and the bowlers who have gone there. But still, we haven't beaten them in 23 years, since 1992," Shastri said.
"We went there and won 2-1 (2015 in Tests). Then we went again (in 2017), and we won 3-0 in Tests, 5-0 in ODIs and 1-0 in T20Is. It was a clean sweep, 9-0. It isn't happening again in a long time."
Shastri reiterated that he used the phrase "across all formats" saying that now people are not laughing at his bold claim anymore.
Best team for three years - no freaking joke
"I used the phrase 'across all formats'. When I said that the endeavour is to be the best travelling team in the world, six months ago people laughed at me. When I said this is the best travelling team in the world across all formats, they laughed. Today, they know, I wasn't speaking French," Shastri added.
Shastri went on to say that the current Indian team's consistency sets them apart from every team in the world as they have been the number 1 ranked Test side in the world for three years. He also said that this consistency is the reason he put the Test series victory in Australia above the World Cup win in 1983 and the World Championship victory in 1985.
"This is a team that has been number one in the world for last three years. How many teams have done that from Asia or can even come to boasting that? Three years is no freaking joke. This is home and away. That's why I said Australia is one of the greatest performances I have seen."
"I said this is the best travelling Indian team in the world across all formats in the last 15-20 years. Check the records and tell me whether I was speaking French or English," Shastri concluded.