India’s dependency on Kohli has lessened, says Ravi Shastri

Good tidings: India’s recent success in Test cricket owes it to the likes of Mayank Agarwal stepping up.  

Acknowledging that his job is to “finetune” the players, India coach Ravi Shastri also stressed that the support staff played a huge part in the team’s success.

“We all have roles. Our job is to finetune them (players) in every possible way because when you're on the road, there could be little things that creep into your game. If you don’t realise, it could lead to bigger things,” Shastri told The Hindu prior to the team’s departure to New Zealand.

Was the team not too dependent on Virat Kohli as a batsman, as a captain? Shastri responded, “I wouldn’t say too dependent. I think it’s become less as time has gone by because of guys getting experience, exposure. Virat is the biggest wicket for the opposition.

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“But, in the last two three years, players like Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane have evolved. They have got better. And the fast bowlers are there to take 20 wickets.”

Stands by Dhoni

The former India allrounder stood by M.S. Dhoni hanging in. “There is the IPL coming. Uske baad tum dekho. Everyone will know. Selectors will know, captain will know, and, more important than anything else, he will know. What I’m trying to tell is he is the last person to impose himself on anything. You know him. I know him. For all you know, he may start the IPL; if he didn’t feel good, he’ll say ‘Thank you very much.’”

Shastri highlighted the reason behind the recent success of Indian cricket. “The vision has been to carry on from where we left off in 2019. I thought that was probably India’s best year, across all formats. For the sheer consistency, the number of wins, ability to adapt and if we had a good 15 minutes in that World Cup, might have been even sweeter. I think it will be a year hard to beat. The only thing missing for these guys is an ICC Trophy. That’s destiny. You have to chase it. Don’t be complacent. Don’t rest on your laurels.”

When asked if India was only beating mediocre teams at home, Shastri said as a matter-of-fact, “I won’t react. My job is to beat sides. We went to South Africa, we won on a treacherous track in Johannesburg. We won in Australia. I don’t care if the opposition is strong or weak. We treat every team as the same.”

Temperament is key

When was a youngster ready to make an international debut? “I would see temperament more than anything. How he handles pressure, how he copes with pace and technique, but, for me, temperament becomes extremely crucial. You might have a guy scoring thousands of runs. But I’d rather like to see a guy who scores the runs when it matters.”

“You don’t have to go to a player and tell him something for the sake of telling it without having a solution to correct it,” he said. “So many times people will come and tell you ‘Tera aage ka pair theek nahi aa raha’ (your front foot is not coming right). I ask ‘toh phir karna kya hai (what is to be done)’. You are testing my mind for nothing. I’m thinking and you’re not giving me the answer.”

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 2:59:26 AM |

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