Ravi Shastri has told an unusual incident from his time as India’s head coach in 2017, in which his support for a great batter paid off despite captain Virat Kohli‘s opposition.

India had travelled to Sri Lanka for a three-match Test series shortly after winning the Champions Trophy, with the BCCI-named squad prepared to get right into the heart of things.

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However, it was revealed that Murali Vijay, one of the team’s top opening batters, had not fully healed from wrist surgery. In came a replacement batter who had not played for a long time but had Shastri’s backing for a spot in the Playing XI.

Shikhar Dhawan was the replacement. With 338 runs at an average of 67.60, the left-handed batter was the leading scorer in the Champions Trophy.

With Vijay injured, Shastri recalls attempting to persuade Virat Kohli to include Dhawan in the lineup for the first Test in Galle, but the skipper was not keen on the idea.

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“I remember one when people talk about selection… and it was a great selection. Shikhar Dhawan, he was not going to play, he was not in the mix. He had a good Champions trophy. I went to Virat and said, ‘this is the guy’, but he said ‘no’. He said ‘we were thinking about giving someone a run. So we thought we will carry on with this process,” Shastri stated on the Star Sports show ‘The Bold and Brave, The Ravi Shastri Way’.

Shastri continued by saying that he would have to persuade Kohli to give Dhawan a spot in the XI. Having said that, the move paid off as the left-handed batter hammered 190 off just 168 balls in two sessions on Day 1 with 31 fours on his return to the XI.

India won the Test by a mammoth 304 runs, but Sri Lanka could never recover from that early onslaught and were blanked 0-3 to give India a stunning Test series win.

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“I said ‘No, give this guy a go. He is looking dangerous. He is looking good. If he gets going, he will win you the match in a session. First game he plays, he gets 190 before tea. That was it. The stamp on the series was right there. And then once they lost the first game, it was one after the other,” pointed out Shastri.