Bengaluru: Taking a dig at the team management and the current Indian squad, team director Ravi Shastri on Saturday come out and said that continuity is the most important factor when it comes to building a winning team and it has been followed by most of the successful squads in the recent past.
Remarking over the future and contributions of the current team managers, Ravi Shastri said, “Take your job and if your boss tells you, you are here for just a month, and after a month I will decide if you carry on with your job, how will you feel? Very simple.”
This factor matters a lot when it comes to being in charge of a young side which is out there to set example for others, remarked Shastri.
Now that Shastri and his coaching squad — Bharath Arun (bowling), R. Sridhar (fielding) and Sanjay Bangar (batting) — have been given tenures extending till the World Twenty20 next March, and with a captain in sync with the coaches, it feels like a step in the right direction.
“I treat it as a challenge,” Shastri said. “It is a responsibility, which I have never backed away from. In anything I have done in life. It is a brilliant young team. You have seen their performances over the last year. I don’t have to say much. The endeavour will be to keep that consistency going till we are in charge.”
Shastri also claimed, nobody in the team is in his comfort zone as none of the team members have a fixed spot in the batting of bowling order.
“Nobody is in a comfort zone. It’s only when you get into a comfort zone that you say he has [now] got out of his comfort zone,” he said. “As a batsman in the top-order you should be prepared to bat anywhere; as the team demands. There were unforeseen circumstances. You had Shikhar [Dhawan] injured, breaking his arm and M. Vijay. We never had our two regular openers fully fit [in Sri Lanka].
“Never a permanent strategy,” he said about the five-bowler theory. “You have got to respect the conditions. You can’t go and say I am going to go with this team. Because it will backfire if the conditions are totally different.”
Shastri isn’t even much distracted because of split captainship between MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli.
“No difference. He played under him in the World Cup the last time. He played under him in Bangladesh. So what’s different now? The team is playing under a champion.”
However, such role-reversal approach is considered best for the limited over format of Cricket which India will play first against South Africa. And thus at the nets on Friday, the batsmen in the spin-trio of R. Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Harbhajan Singh were tested.
Apart from them, all[-rounders like Stuart Binny, Gurkeerat Singh and Axar Patel will be tested. Dhoni even rolled his arm over, though that doesn’t suggest much.
However, the instability in the batting order can’t be ruled out. Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, the most-talked about batsmen in recent times, will for once exchange grades of comfort levels. Rohit is a more permanent player in the Indian squad while Rahane, who has shown immense skills over the past few months, was dropped in against Bangladesh. Skipper Dhoni’s finishing acts have been on ice and there have been indications that he might move up the order.
“Don’t you think it is about time?” asked Shastri. “He has done the dirty work for years. Give him the chance to enjoy himself. You are talking about probably one of the greatest captains and players to have played the game.”
Dhoni, however, has been doing what he is a master at. After a few miss-hits, he hoisted a bunch of net bowlers routinely into the empty stands at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
In this he was preceded by Kohli, Rohit and Rahane — who might have been there to break the shackles Test cricket binds you to — and then joined by Ambati Rayudu.
Shastri also claimed that against a team like South Africa, India would need all this and even more.
“They play well overseas; better than any other side. Their record shows that. We know what we are up against. The respect is there, but we won’t take any backward step.”