Team India’s performance in the T20 World Cup was embarrassing. The Indian team, led by Virat Kohli, could not progress beyond the Super 12 stage and fell flat against Pakistan and New Zealand. When India’s journey in the World Cup ended, there was a lot of discussion about the poor performance of the team and the IPL was also held responsible for this. Former captain Kapil Dev has even said that Indian players give more importance to IPL than country. Since then there has been a debate whether it is more important to play in the famous T20 league or to wear the country’s jersey on the field. Now the answer has been given by Ravi Shastri, the former head coach of India.
In conversation with India Today, Ravi Shastri said in reply to IPL first or country, ‘Obviously. There is no question about it, if it was not for this, you would not have seen this kind of performance in the last five years. If your mind was not there while playing for the country, then who would be an idiot who would give more importance to franchise cricket than playing for the country. He is playing for India, you have a badge on your chest, you are being watched by crores of people around the world. You are very lucky to be among the eleven players in a country with such a population who are getting a chance to represent the country. So all this is a far cry and I have no time for whoever is saying this.’
Shastri indicated that Virat Kohli may also step down from ODI and Test captaincy after T20. He said, ‘India has been at the top for the last five years under his captaincy in Test cricket. He wouldn’t want to leave her unless he felt mentally exhausted. He may, however, step down from the captaincy to focus on batting in the near future. It won’t happen immediately, but it can happen. The same can happen with white ball cricket (in limited overs formats). He can say that now he just wants to focus on Test captaincy.