Australian team’s tempered on-field approach is a paradigm shift from earlier times but it’s the quality of cricket which will decide the fate of the series, said India’s head coach Ravi Shastri. Australian cricket teams over the years have played tough cricket with a liberal mix of sledding, which former skipper Steve Waugh often termed as “mental disintegration”.
However, things have changed post-ball-tampering episode that led to suspensions of Steve Smith and David Warner with critics panning “win at all costs” approach. “At the end of the day, it’s the cricket that talks. I didn’t care if a McGrath or a Warne did say something or didn’t say something, they would have still taken wickets,” the Indian head coach said during the opening media interaction on Sunday.
“It’s as simple as that. When you can do what you are good at and do it consistently, it doesn’t matter, which side you are playing for. That cricketer will do well and so will the team,” said Shastri. Even skipper Virat Kohli during his pre-departure press conference said that he has enough faith in his abilities to perform rather than indulge in a mindless exchange of words to pump himself up.
When asked about Kohli’s well-known aggressive approach, Shastri echoed his skipper’s sentiments. “He (Kohli) is a professional and he has matured. You saw him four years ago (2014-15) and he has played all around the globe since then and captained the side. And that alone comes with a tag of responsibility which has fit well on his shoulders and he has adjusted extremely well but he will not take his foot off the gas,” the head coach explained what will be India skipper’s approach.
Kohli has scored five Test hundreds on Australian soil (one in 2011-12 and 4 in 2014-15) and Shastri said that Australian conditions suit Indian captain’s style of game. “He loves coming to Australia. He is passionate about his game. Pitches suit his style of play. And once you have done well here, you want to come and play again. It’s a great place to come and play cricket.
“They play hard and the sporting public appreciates good tough cricket. It doesn’t matter which side wins and as long as I have been coming to Australia. I have seen people love it, whether it’s media, people at the ground or those watching on television,” said Shastri.