Ravi Shastri was given a second stint as the head coach of the Indian team on Friday and he laid down the challenges that the team may face in the coming two years, especially with younger players in the team.
The former cricketer, in an interview with Bcci.tv, said that a smooth transition of the youngsters in the team and finding more bowlers for the pool will be something that the team will be looking to work on.
“For next two years, the aim is to have smooth transition,” Shastri was quoted as saying. “We will have youngsters coming in white-ball cricket and also in Tests. Those are the challenges.
“We need to add three-four bowlers in the pool. So my endeavour will be to leave the team in a happier place so that they can set a legacy. That is the desire. We are on track and there is always room for improvement.”
India is struggling to a stable middle-order and with MS Dhoni also in the twilight of his career, the search for a wicketkeeper-batsman is also on.
“There is a time when you got to invest in youth, ensuring you have better combinations and better depth all-around. Unless you make those efforts even if at the cost of some results, you will not know what your best setup is.”
Shastri believes that this team could have a legacy that a few teams in the past have had and the others will try to emulate them in the future.
“The reason I came in was because I had this belief in this team that they could leave a legacy which a few teams have left before,” he said. “Not just for the moments they are playing but the kind of legacy that other teams going down the decade will try to emulate.”
India won their first-ever Test series against Australia this year and reached the semi-final of the ODI World Cup last month. But India lost Test series in South Africa and England.
Shastri wants India to be more consistent in Test cricket and strive for excellence on the field.
“If you want to raise the bar day in and day out, then you got to pay attention to detail,” he said. “If you do mess up or have an off day, make sure you are focusing on how you can get over that barrier. That will be the endeavour of this team. It’s be consistent and that’s the bar they have set and it’s up to them to raise their bar.”
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The Indian team was one of most consistently performing teams before the World Cup and had series wins in South Africa, Australia and England. Because of that, India were top contenders to win the World Cup but lost in the semi-final to New Zealand.
“They have belief now to travel and beat sides. They have beaten all sides in their backyard in white ball cricket,” he said. “The results will show we lost in England badly [in Tests] but we got to learn from that. The scoreline doesn’t tell the true story.
“The scoreline is something I have to go by and I have to believe how I can improve on that. The players are also thinking on the same collectively. They know they have to keep this consistency going and take it another to another level.”
Hailing India’s fielding improvement in the last five years, Shastri believes India can be the best field side in the world.
“Over the last four and five years, the biggest improvement is field,” he said. “The endeavour is to make this the best field team in the world. The diktat is clear that whoever wants to play for this team, the standard of that particular player has to be of the highest level especially in the white ball cricket.”
India will now begin a two-match Test series against West Indies and Shastri says that playing away from home is challenge but India believe that wherever they go, they treat it as a home ground.
“I relish the challenge,” he said. “The game has taught you to never to back away. Your mental frame is such that your embrace a challenge. Look at it straight in the eye and compete. We will look to do that wherever we go because we believe wherever we go it’s home, so just go and think in that fashion.”