Bengaluru: From the time Ravi Shastri has taken over the mantle of Team Director of the Indian team there has been a sea change in the attitude and performance of the players. But perhaps the biggest change has been the level of consistency, notwithstanding the ups and down during his tenure.
Speaking during the national team camp ahead of the South Africa series at the National Cricket Academy on Friday, Shastri revealed, “The biggest gain has been consistency. For me the most successful tour was that of Australia. It will hit you guys somewhere down the line and you’ll know where I am coming from,” said the outspoken Shastri.
“The result was 2-0 down, right, and then we had a great World Cup, but the lessons learnt on that tour were hard lessons to learn. That is being put into practice, which I am really heartened by. You can see this is a young team, which is passionate. They want to learn. They don’t want to rest on their laurels. And they want to be consistent,” he said.
Since taking over the top job, the former Indian all-rounder has only added more feathers to his already packed hat and BCCI’s decision to keep him at the helm at least until the end of the T20 World Cup early next year has been a welcome boost for him and the coaching staff.
Asked about his tenure so far, he remarked: “Every assignment for me has been a big one for the last one year. There is no small series in world cricket today. The work ethics, what you put into place to win a game, all that has to be done in the same way that you do with any other team. I treat it as a challenge. It is a responsibility, which I have never backed away from,” he stated scoffing at suggestions that the shift to getting back to play under MS Dhoni’s captaincy following a lengthy period time could be a hurdle.
Despite the South Africa team going through a transition phase, the 53-year-old Shastri believes that they are still a formidable force.
“Players come and go, but you have got to respect the fact they are the No. 1 team in the world. They are a stiff opposition. They play well in overseas conditions. Better than any other side in world cricket. The respect is there, but we won’t take any backward steps,” he stressed.
Asked about the strategy going into the series, he remarked: “(There is) never a permanent strategy. You might need six batsmen or four-and-a-half bowlers. You might need a bowler to do the job, to give the main bowlers the rest. And play to the conditions and opposition. It’s very important you study the opposition and then decide what the best combination is for your team.”