Ravi Shastri says it's extremely important to win games

Ravi Shastri says it's extremely important to win games

Team Director Ravi Shastri
Indian Team Director Ravi Shastri backs Rohit Sharma to come good in Tests against Sri Lanka (© Getty Images)

Ravi Shastri says it’s extremely important to win games: Now, the Indian team is all set to take on the Sri Lankan side in their backyard. It has been 22 long years since India won a Test series here in Sri Lanka. India’s tour of Sri Lanka which will include 3-match Test series will commence from 12th August at Galle. On the eve of Test match the Indian Team Director Ravi Shastri opened up about various facets of the series.

The 53-year-old was quoted by PTI saying that, “You don’t come to a cricket ground to draw a cricket match so you play a brand of cricket where you look to take the game forward and you look to take 20 wickets, that is paramount. You have got to think how you can take 20 wickets to take the game forward and win the game.”

Emphasizing on the significance of winning games, Shastri said that, “It is extremely important to start winnings games. They have had the learning curve in South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia. They have played a lot of cricket overseas and that experience factor will certainly come into play when they get back to conditions they are familiar with.”

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Talking about India’s new strategy of opting for 5 specialist bowlers in Test cricket, he said, “And then the fact that you have an additional bowler might just help you close matches that you couldn’t earlier. It’s not about getting big runs but about taking 20 wickets. Look at England in the Ashes. It’s their depth in bowling that has made all the difference.”

The former Indian captain also praised the Sri Lankan side. “I think they had some very good sides in the past and they play very well as a unit and as a team. When I came here first in the 80s they won that series 1-0. They had a pretty decent attack. And right through those middle years they had Muttiah Muralitharan who was a massive influence. Of course you have Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara coming in after that, but again Murali was the main guy as it is about taking 20 wickets,” he said.

He further added that, “And he was instrumental with some other spinners in doing that. That’s why they have been a force in this part of the world. So it is a big challenge.”

The Indian team is undergoing a transition and the most experienced player in the side is the 26-year-old Ishant Sharma. Reflecting on the youth factor in this team, Ravi Shastri said that, “This must be one of the youngest Indian teams to come here. If you look at the average age of this side, it will be about 25-26 as opposed to the teams that have come here in the last 15 years. So this is a very young side as well. Sri Lanka is a young side too but you can make up for that in home conditions. So it will be young versus young and it will be interesting,”

The Indian team director also praised Rohit Sharma who will be batting at the no.3 slot ahead of Cheteshwar Pujara in the 1st Test match against Sri Lanka. He asserted that, “Rohit is a class player. It’s just a case of him smelling the coffee, spending some time in the middle and getting a start, and then we know what he can do. It could be a good position for him because he has that ability to counter attack and yet at the same time he will have to be tight. If Pujara is in the best five batsmen of the team he will play, if not he doesn’t. I am sure he will make a comeback at some point, especially if we are playing only four bowlers.”

Till now Wriddhiman Saha hasn’t been able to transform his impeccable domestic form in International cricket. On Saha’s abilities with the bat, Shastri said, “Saha is a very good player and he might have got out cheaply but he has got the temperament to score runs. He batted really well in Sydney to save that Test match in the second innings as well as when he got the opportunity he looked good at the crease. It’s converting that start into one big score and giving himself the self-belief that he can perform.”

“And it’s not just Saha. Each one of those bowlers will have to put a price tag on their wickets. No wicket is free these days and you have to make the bowlers earn those wickets and a lot will be expected from the bowlers,” he said.