It’s time to party, says Ravi Shastri after India’s historic win in Sri Lanka

first_imgTwenty-two years of wait was over. Sri Lanka were humbled on their home turf with a 2-1 Test series win on Tuesday by a team coming of age under captain Virat Kohli .As soon as the players were back in the dressing room after the 117-run victory, came a terse instruction from team director Ravi Shastri: “Let’s party, boys.” He later said: “I am the man in charge, and after such a historic series win, I’ll ensure all the boys party hard. None of them will be excused. This win calls for a befitting celebration.” Kohli, meanwhile, had stepped out to the Sinhalese Sports Club dressing room balcony. He took off his white shirt, waved and threw it to the fans. His shoes followed. There was unbridled fist-pumping all along.2002. Lord’s. Dada. Natwest Trophy final.It was like a glittering, heady action replay of our collective memory. The parallels and mutual admiration are hard to miss. Even Kohli’s coach Rajkumar Sharma says the Delhi superstar is in the Sourav Ganguly, not MS Dhoni, mould.Kohli had told Ganguly in a TV show a couple of months ago, “I want to win respect of the people by winning matches as you did.”Sourav had returned the compliment: “One of my favourite sportsmen was Diego Maradona, and every time I saw him play football, I could see his passion. You see the same in Virat.”Passion had breached banks on Tuesday in the Indian dressing room, awash with champagne and Bollywood songs.advertisement”What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, brother. I can’t give you dressing room secrets,” a young Indian bowler told Mail Today after the match. “But yes, we are on top of the world.”This comes after the team decided to do away with any elaborate celebration post their win in the second Test at the P. Sara Oval. It was Kohli’s first win as Test skipper, but the instruction to the team was clear: “Let’s focus on winning the series, celebrations can wait.” It was a far cry from the general philosophy of Kohli and Shastri — play hard on the field and party harder off it. A lot of hue and cry was made over the young team’s verbal volleys at media conferences and its failure to win matches – after losing from a position of strength in the opening Test in Galle.But on Tuesday, there was no stopping Team India. A quiet team dinner was the last thing on the team’s mind as a player confessed that the party was much deserved.”We were really disappointed after losing in Galle. But Shastri and Kohli made it clear that we are the better team and all we needed to do was keep doing the basics right. We didn’t want to celebrate too early, but today we deserve to let our hair down,” he told Mail Today.In fact, the same people who had questioned Kohli’s comments on continuing to play attacking cricket, despite the loss in Galle, praised his captaincy skills on Tuesday and said it could well be the dawn of the new era in Indian cricket. Also, all doubts on how this could well be Shastri’s last assignment as team director – with certain BCCI officials claiming that the Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and V.V.S. Laxman had been asked to look for a new coach – have been put to rest.Speaking to Mail Today, a senior BCCI official said: “I doubt the Board will pick a new coach unless Shastri himself wants to excuse himself.”Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar feels Kohli is the type of leader who doesn’t let the game drift. “He is a very pro-active Test skipper. That’s so important. He is looking to make things happen and sometimes they won’t happen because that’s the nature of the game,” said Gavaskar.last_img read more