For India coach Ravi Shastri winning a world title is an “obsession” and for that, the upcoming six ODIs against New Zealand and South Africa could be used as a platform to prepare for the T20 championship in Australia later this year.
India are scheduled to play five T20 Internationals, three ODIs and two Test matches against the Kiwis starting with the shortest format on January 24. The ODI series against South Africa will be held in March.
In an exclusive interview with PTI, ahead of the start of India’s tour, Shastri spoke at length on a range of issues including the legacy he wants to create, preparations for the marquee meet, team culture and unfortunate injuries to his players.
“That toss will be taken out of the equation, we will play well irrespective of conditions, of opponents and in every country of the world. That’s what our aim is and that is what we are chasing. Yes, the World Cup remains an obsession and we will do all to fulfill that ambition,” Shastri said.
“The word ‘I’ is not there in our dictionary. It’s ‘we’. That’s what this team stands for. It celebrates each other’s achievements because it’s the team that wins,” he added.
So, is there a possibility that the ODIs held this year will be an extension of T20s, the former India captain replied: “Yes, I believe it’s very much possible.”
“The Australia series was proof of the mental strength and the ability to play under pressure. After the hammering at the Wankhede, to come back and play like the way we did, merits a lot of credit and praise.
“It showed courage and as Virat used the word brave, it showed we are unafraid to play brave cricket and with intent,” said Shastri. While no one can deny that Shastri is pleased as punch with the series win against the mighty Australians, the 57-year-old now wants to only think about the new series.
“This team lives in the present. Whatever has happened in the past is history. We look to do what we did well in the past, in the future also.
Shikhar Dhawan and Kedar Jadhav
“We love options,” he said. However, he expressed disappointment over Shikhar Dhawan’s injury.
“Very sad because he (Dhawan) is a senior player. He is a match-winner. When someone suffers an injury of that sort, everyone is hurt in the team,” he said.
Shastri also rejected rumours that Kedar Jadhav will no longer have a role to play in ODIs.
“Kedar is an integral part of the ODI team that will play in New Zealand. He will be treated like every other player.”
Will K’ul-Cha’ come together?
“It’s been quite a while since Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal featured together in the playing XI in white-ball games.
“That’s a call we will take. We play ‘Horses for Courses’. We will judge it in that direction.” Suryakumar Yadav’s name has been propped up as an explosive power-hitter in the playing XI. The coach was non-committal on what was his take on the subject.
“That’s a selector’s job. I don’t get involved in that department as such,” he said. He also wasn’t bothered by the kind of surfaces New Zealand will dish out.
“We, as a team, don’t think about all that. We address something when we see it. We see facts, we address. We don’t go into the history or the past.”
(With PTI inputs)
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