After sealing the first-ever Test series victory on Australian soil, India head coach Ravi Shastri hit back at the detractors including the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, saying negative comments coming from miles away were blown away by the wind like a "tracer bullet".
"I said in Melbourne — I think I mentioned people taking potshots and firing blanks. I wasn't joking there, because I knew how hard this team had worked. When you fire from there, by the time it crosses the southern hemisphere, it's blown away by the wind like a tracer bullet," Shastri said while addressing the press-conference after the 2-1 Test series triumph over Australia.
Shastri comments came on the wake of Gavaskar's on-air remarks made during the fourth day's play in Sydney. After fellow panelist Murali Kartik termed the Perth defeat as a wake-up call, Gavaskar had said, "And how did that wake up call come? Because of the blanks being fired from thousands of miles away. The blanks made the noise that woke this team up!"
Following India’s 146-run defeat in the second Test at Perth, Gavaskar had also said that if the No.1 side fails to win the remaining two Tests Down Under then the utility of Virat Kohli and Shastri as captain and head coach must be assessed.
Having mentored the team to a historic Test series win, it was Shastri's turn to respond.
Continuing his talk, the Indian chief coach said, "...But lead, with something in it, can be pretty serious. And that's what we have fired right through the series against Australia. We were committed, and it jolly well bloody made a difference at the end of it all. This is not a team of gods or demigods, seniors or juniors."
Moreover, Shastri rated the Australia Test series success on the same pedestal as the 1983 World Cup triumph.
"I will tell you how satisfying this is for me. World Cup 1983, World Championship 1985...this is as big or even bigger because this is in the truest format of the game, that is Test cricket," he said.
Shastri showered rich praise on his players after they rewrote the history books at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
"This is an Indian cricket team that will jump over a cliff to win a match for the country. And that's the determination, that's the ruthlessness, that's the mindset with which this team went to play in this series. Hats off to them for showing that courage."
"Today I can say I am proud of my boys and I can also tell them one thing, which Virat touched in the presentation, that this team now has an identity to look at any other Indian team from the past in the eye and say 'We play proper Test match cricket. You did, we did too, but without being intimidated'," Shastri signed off.
(With PTI inputs)