Indian national cricket team's captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri on January 11, 2019 received the honorary membership of the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for their contribution to the sport of cricket.
The Indian team defeated Australia 2-1 in the four-match Test series, ending the country's 71-year-old wait for a rare series win Down Under.
The Sydney Cricket Ground congratulated India on achieving the feat and its Chairman Tony Shepherd was quoted saying that it is wonderful to see the world's largest cricketing nation putting its focus firmly on Test cricket - a step that will reinforce the pre-eminence of Tests in the global cricketing landscape.
• The only other international cricketers to be granted the honorary membership of the SCG, apart from Kohli and Shastri, include the iconic Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara of West Indies.
• Speaking on the occasion, the SCG Chairman Shepherd said that Virat and Ravi have been at the forefront and Test cricket is well served having both placing such significance on the five-day format.
• Kohli has reiterated his love for Test cricket on various instances throughout India’s tours of England and Australia while Ravi Shastri ranked the series win bigger than the 1983 World Cup and the 1985 World Championship for him on a personal level simply because it came in the longest format of the game.
• Commenting through a tweet, Shastri had said that it is a great honour to get the honorary life membership of the SCG along with Kohli.
India scored 622 for the seven wickets in the first innings of the final Test that was held at the iconic stadium. It was their second-highest total in the stadium and although it was washed out, the match confirmed India’s series win, their first ever on Australian soil in Test cricket.
After the Test series victory, India are now scheduled to play a three-match One-day International (ODI) series against Australia.
India are the number 1 ranked Test team in the world but they are trailing England in the ODI rankings. They have a chance to cut the gap at the top of the table by beating the Australian side, which is still grappling with after effects of the 2018 ball-tampering scandal, which saw three of the team's significant players including the captain and vice-captain getting suspended the game.
In March 2018, during the third Test match against South Africa in Cape Town, Australia's Cameron Bancroft was caught by television cameras trying to rough up one side of the ball to make it swing in flight.
Captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were found to be involved and all three received unprecedented sanctions from Cricket Australia.
While Bancroft received a nine-month suspension from all international and domestic forms of cricket, both Smith and Warner received twelve-months suspension each.
Although he was found not to have been involved, Australia's coach, Darren Lehmann, announced he would step down from his role following the scandal. Smith was replaced by Tim Paine as Test captain.