The Indian coach opened up on his plans with the side in the upcoming series against Aussies and Kiwis, and also dropped a few hints on his approach to the upcoming World Cup.
After the historic series win in the Test series down under, coach Ravi Shastri sat down for a candid interview where be has said he isn’t worried about the results against Australia and New Zealand, in the upcoming limited-overs’ contests.
He also chatted on topics like the making of this win-hungry Indian side, and how the Indian players would probably digest their busy schedule, given that they have a packed calendar ahead, including the Indian Premier League and then the Cricket World Cup.
Here are a few excerpts and a summary of questions and answers from Ravi Shastri’s interview with the Times of India:
Q. A great win, but bigger than 1983? Did you really mean it that way?
A. This is the purest form of cricket. A 71-year-old barrier has been broken and accolades have been flowing from all over the world – from the likes of many, including Imran Khan and sir. Vivian Richards – say it all. Thise who have played cricket in Australia knows what it takes to win here. They are as tough as an opposition can get and nothing comes easy. Of course the 1983 World Cup is right up there and so is 1985. But I do stand by what I said – this is pure joy, this is real cricket. This is a young team, it is their moment, and they should have a good sense of the history they have made here. In fact, they do.
Q. Talking about India’s series win, Mitchell Johnson said “It’s pure gold”…
A. The series is the only thing that Australia is talking right now. Mitch (Johnson) knows very well the value of a series win here (in Australia). And so do the others who are gushing over this Indian team. They have been a fantastic unit, have worked very hard for this, and look how beautifully things have fallen in place.
Shastri also said he was in awe of Virat Kohli’s captaincy during the Test series. Kohli became the first captain in the 71-year history of Test cricket between the two cricketing superpowers to lead an Indian team to Test series win on Australian soil.
It was Kohli’s on-field tactics, especially his field placements in the fiercely-fought Test series, that caught the coach’s eyes. The former India captain made a special mention to the dismissal of Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne on the third day of the drawn final Test in Sydney.
About the promising note with which the year started, and about the World Cup fixtures within sight, Shastri said:
“Yes, that’s the only thing on our minds now – the World Cup. Mentally, we’re already switching from red (ball) to white. Players who’ve been playing continuous cricket over the past few months have been given a rest, Bumrah for instance. While we will use the upcoming matches (against Aus and NZ) to fine-tune things in preparing for the World Cup, I am not really worried about whether we will win or lose those games.”
While he is a bit wary on whether the IPL will take a toll on his players, Shastri is still hopeful of seeing some good competition among the youngsters in the tournament and also monitor all the Indian players who will be a part of the action for various franchises.
“There’s a lot coming up and you’ll see the right measures being taken. The trainer, physios, assistant coaches, the captain, me – we’re all in touch with the Board to make this work,” he concluded.