'Aim is to play like No.1 side' - Ravi Shastri ahead of first Test against New Zealand

‘Aim is to play like No.1 side’ – Ravi Shastri ahead of first Test against New Zealand

The Indian team had a poor outing the last time these two teams met in Tests in New Zealand, losing the series 1-0.

Ravi Shastri (Photo by Satyabrata Tripathy/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The limited-overs series between India and New Zealand ended on both teams whitewashing one another. India cleaned New Zealand 5-0 in T20Is and was then whitewashed 3-0 in the ODI series. Now the focus shifts on Test matches, as the two teams will clash in series of two matches, with the first match to start from February 21.

The Virat Kohli-led side is also leading the World Test Championship rankings with 360 points having all their seven matches so far. With six overseas Tests this year, India is seeking another 100 points which promise to assure them of a place at the home of cricket in the final. This is the second away series for the No.1 ranked Test team under the Test Championship annals and coach Ravi Shastri is looking forward to the challenge.

‘Both Gill and Shaw are exciting talents’: Ravi Shastri

“We need 100 points to be in contention to play at Lord’s. 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,” Shastri was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

The Indian team had a poor outing the last time these two teams met in Tests in New Zealand, losing the series 1-0. This time, they have to do without Rohit Sharma as the opener, who is suffering from a hamstring injury and the management has the option of either Prithvi Shaw or young Shubman Gill to partner Mayank Agarwal at the top.

Shaw had promising starts in all three ODIs, scoring 20, 24 and 42; while Gill has a double ton and a century against NZ A in recent First-Class matches. Talking about the possibility of either of them playing, Shastri was quoted as saying, “Both [Shaw and Gill] are supremely exciting talents. He [Gill] is phenomenally talented.

His approach to batting is very clear and he exhibits a very positive mindset. Rohit is unfortunately out 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 looks strong and stable.”

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