Sydney: India coach Ravi Shastri on Monday used his tried and trusted ammunition to attack the critics, saying negative comments coming from miles away were blown away by the wind like, what else, but a "tracer bullet".
Moments after India's maiden Test series triumph in Australia, Shastri hit back at the critics, including the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, who had questioned selections and the training regimen of the team.
"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 told reporters after the 2-1 Test series triumph over Australia, India's first in 71 years.
The former all-rounder was alluding to Gavaskar's comments made on air during the fourth day's play on Sunday.
After fellow panelist Murali Karthik called the Perth defeat 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!"
Having achieved as a coach what no other Indian team has in 71 years, it was Shastri's turn to respond.
Continuing his tirade, he 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."
Further, Shastri rated the series win over 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.
Ravi Shastri on first Test series win in Australia: 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. pic.twitter.com/ODTeuZZEpS
— ANI (@ANI) January 7, 2019
Shastri lavished rich praise on his players after they wrote a new chapter in the Indian cricket history.
"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."
He was not done there, considering the enormity of the achievement at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
"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.