With 15 days left for the Cricket World Cup, India’s head coach Ravi Shastri is calm and confident. By his own admission, he was “chillaxing” during the Indian Premier League and is now set to take India to the trophy he had won as a player in 1983.
While the Indian squad has its own set of problems ahead of the marquee event, from IPL workload management to the injury sustained by Kedar Jadhav and the all-important question of the No 4 batter, Shastri is unperturbed by any of it. The coach says he believes in his team and is sure that when the players reach England, they will put their best foot forward from the practice games itself.
“I don’t think there’s anything to resolve. It’s just soaking in the atmosphere, believing in the combinations that we will plan and decide going into those practice games as a lead up to the World Cup and believe in that,” Shastri said in an interview with Cricketnext.
One of the biggest question for India is Vijay Shankar and his indifferent form in IPL 2019. After his selection and the vote of confidence from the selectors, there were many questions flying around. Ambati Rayudu went as far as taking a public dig at him after chief selector MSK Prasad backed him for his “three-dimensional ability’.
However, Shastri says that India has enough batsmen capable of playing at that position, if not Shankar. He said that India has all bases covered in the final 15, from pace to spin.
“For me, we are a flexible team. It’s horses for courses, we have got enough ammunition there, enough players who can bat at No 4. So, I am not really worried about that,” said Shastri.
The coach also said that India’s decision to not take an extra pacer is not necessarily the final call. “If there is a major injury to a fast bowler, there will be a replacement almost straight away, in fact we are going with 3-4 fast bowlers in the lead up to the World Cup. For all you know, one might stay back, you know whoever is impressive, the board might just keep him back and see what happens,” he explained.
Talking about the dynamic of two of India’s ODI stalwarts, Shastri said that managing captain Virat Kohli and former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was made easy by their mutual admiration.
“I was never ever in doubt about the two of them having the kind of respect they have for each other, wanting to do a good job for each other because in the first phase of my job MS was the captain, the next half Virat was the captain. And I can see the commitment both had for each other when they played was tremendous,” he said.
Read the full interview here