Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri with team India

Eye for Eye

After an “eye for eye” whitewash series against New Zealand, India set to play two test matches. India whitewashed New Zealand in T20I(0-5) for which New Zealand whitewashed India in ODI(3-0) format.

Ravi Shastri on speaking to TOI from Hamilton,”We need 100 points to be in contention to play at Lord’s (in the World Test Championship final). Two overseas wins out of six Tests will keep us in good stead. We play six Tests overseas this year (two in NZ and four in Australia). So, that’s one objective. The other is to play like the world’s No. 1 Test team – because that’s what this team believes in more than anything else. On the Test front, that’s what we’re looking at.”

Sky remains the limit

Ravi Shastri(Head coach of India) is excited to drag in some new faces and makes themselves count. Prithvi Shaw who returned to test match is expected to perform better to lock his position in the squad. Shubman Gill is expected to debut in the first test match at Hamilton. He also added “Both are supremely exciting talents. Regardless of who gets into the XI in Wellington, the fact of the matter is they’re here, part of India’s national squad, and from here on they should know that the sky remains the limit”.

When Shastri speak about Shubman Gill he says that Gill has been watching closely for the past two years by him along with the Indian captain Kohli and other senior members. “He’s phenomenally talented. His approach to batting is very clear and he exhibits a very positive mindset. That’s very exciting for a boy who’s just 20 going on 21,” says Shastri.

Either Shubman or Prithvi one will get into crease as opener along with Mayank Agarwal,  he added “They’re all from the same school, you know. They love facing the new ball, enjoy a challenge. Rohit is unfortunately out (with a calf muscle injury) so that puts Shubman and Prithvi in contention to open with Mayank. That competition is necessary and that’s what makes a bunch of 15 look strong and stable”.

Prithvi Shaw and Agarwal
Prithvi Shaw and Agarwal

Team lose its core

When the topic move towards the ruled out players as Rohit Sharma is out of New Zealand tour due to his calf muscle injury. Also the absent of Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma cause a heavy levy as his team lose its core players. “Around four to five of our core are missing. Bhuvi could’ve been extremely useful in the conditions here, but never mind. That’s why I said, having options available are always in the best interests of the team,” says the head coach.

The responsibility has been loaded upon  Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami as Ishant Sharma is not back with full fitness meanwhile Bhuvneshwar has not been fully recovered from injury. “That’s precisely how they’ve been managing their workload right now. The T20s were important because that’s the format that’s important this year and the next (because of the T20 World Cups). Test cricket is always paramount. We can only hope the rest of the boys return fully fit at the earliest,” he added.

According to Shastri “That 5-0 win could’ve been 3-2, 4-1. As we might acknowledge, the eventual result is what counts. The series was ours no doubt but the 5-0 sweep was like an icing. Now, the thing is how convincingly we can pull off matches like that. Bilaterals are the perfect space to try new things, mix things up, get in some new faces. That’s what we’ve been doing. Around four to five guys in the team right now are less than 22 years of age. It’s up to them how they take advantage of these opportunities coming their way.”

Shastri on KL Rahul

He also mentioned about KL Rahul who execute a glorious performance in the 3rd ODI against New Zealand.“It’s almost like he finds himself all the more involved because of the added responsibility. He’s in a great space and some rest will do him a world of good,” said Shastri.