India men's cricket team coach Ravi Shastri reminded the naysayers that he wasn't speaking 'French' six months ago when he declared the Virat Kohli-led side as the 'best' Indian side to travel overseas in the last 15-20 years.
Although, Shastri clarified that when he made the statement he was talking about the team's performance across three formats.
In an interview with Cricbuzz, Shastri said, "I used the phrase 'across all formats'. When I said that the endeavour is to be the best travelling team in the world, six months ago people laughed at me. When I said this is the best travelling team in the world across all formats, they laughed. Today, they know, I wasn't speaking French.
We hadn't been to South Africa before (under me), but to go there and beat them 5-1 after 25 years (in ODIs). Before that, we had won 3-1 in England (2014 in ODIs) and we won a T20I series in Australia 3-0 (2016)."
Shastri was also the team director when India defeated Sri Lanka in 2015 Test series away from home. A feat achieved for the first time in 23 years by an Indian side and then in 2017, the Indian side completed a 9-0 sweep across formats against the Islanders in their own backyard, where Shastri was the head coach.
Besides lauding Kohli, the ICC Cricketer and also the Captain of the Test and ODI teams of 2018 and Cheteshwar Pujara, the Player of the Series, in country's first-ever Test series win on Australian soil, the 56-year old heaped special praise on the fast bowling unit, hailing them as the 'cornerstone' of India's overseas Test cycle in 2018.
India became the first Asian side to win Test matches in South Africa, England and Australia in a calendar year.
The pace troika of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma rewrote record books taking 136 wickets in a calendar year going past the legendary West Indies' pace battery – Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding's tally of 130 wickets.
While applauding the fast bowling unit, the former India all-rounder emphasised on the importance of the mandatory Yo-Yo test that the Indian team management set as a marker for selection in the national side.
"When we mentioned the Yo-Yo test a year ago, people laughed that it was criteria for selection. What they missed was that was a very important part of selection. You have to first clear that criterion and then of course you have batting, bowling and fielding skills to talk to be selected. But you have to pass that test as a benchmark," he asserted.
"None of the fast bowlers broke down – neither did Ishant Sharma nor Jasprit Bumrah. Ishant was brilliant with 40-plus wickets. When you have bowlers hunting in a pack, there is no breakaway with someone taking 60 and the others 20-30 wickets. When all three are in 40s, you know these guys are hunting in a pack. We always had individual brilliance but this was a sustained team effort," Shastri said.