Team India will be embarking on a grueling 18 months of overseas cricket with tours to South Africa, England, Australia and New Zealand.
The number one Test team in the world is supposed to dominate in every condition and with some superlative performances at home against the likes of England, Australia and Sri Lanka; Team India will face some tough opposition in their own backyard.
Ravi Shastri talked to Sportstarlive.com about the challenges that Team India will face overseas and how this current team has potential to become the greatest ever.
Talking about the preparations for the overseas tours, Shastri said, “We have decided that all games are home games. We are not going to look into overseas, or what? For me (playing in) Mumbai is a home game. Every other game in my life is an away game. Similarly, if it is Kolkata, Durban or Delhi treat it like home. You have to adapt to the conditions, no excuses. The pitch is for both the sides. If the opposition can take wickets, so can you. If the opposition can make runs, so can you. Whoever takes 20 wickets quicker will win the game — it’s as simple as that. But you will need to adapt to the conditions. The conditions might be different, but it is not impossible (to adapt). We have the skills, we have the talent to adapt to most conditions, and we have a bowling attack that can adapt to all conditions in the world.”
In relation of Team India not winning any series in South Africa, he said, “People laughed when I said that this team has the potential to do what many earlier teams could not do. And they have already done that, beating England in England in one-dayers after 24 years. Whitewashing Australia in a T20 series which no one has done. Winning back-to-back Test series against Sri Lanka. The team is clicking at the right time. Now, when we go to South Africa and the batting fires, it is going to be a terrific series.”
Talking about the focus on upcoming Tests and ODIs, Shastri said, “Why would I say so if I don’t believe in them? And not for nothing they are the No. 1 team in the world. You look at their records across formats. Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. We’ll try to put our best foot forward, but let me tell you, there will be a lot of opportunities for a lot of players in T20. The focus will be on Test and one-day cricket, especially overseas because the upcoming World Cup will be held overseas. The next 14 months will help the team immensely in the run-up to the World Cup because they are playing in overseas conditions. They will only get better. Forget the results, come the World Cup, and we will be in great shape. The boys would’ve learnt from the exposure and experience.”
Ravi Shastri also spoke about the rotation policy and player fitness.
He said, “In Test matches we will play our best XI, because there is no question of rotating the players unless someone is injured. Even in one-day cricket, 90% of the time the best XI will play. That you will have to see their work load. If someone is playing all three formats, then you will have to adjust accordingly. I don’t think there will be a problem for batsmen that much, but bowlers, definitely.”
Ravi Shastri asserted that this Indian team can do something special that no other team previously has done.
He said, “I have not seen an Indian pace attack like this, with the bench strength, for a long long time. We have two of the best spinners, we have five fast bowlers. So, we have a good chance of taking 20 wickets. That is why I feel this team has the opportunity to do something special. We had attacks (in the past) that were very good in Indian conditions. But going overseas you have to have the potential to take 20 wickets quicker than your opposition. The current Indian attack has the balance and variety.”
Talking about the Indian preparation for the South Africa tour, Shastri said, “Ideally, another 10 days could have been good for the team. We should have been in South Africa ideally 15 days before the first Test. We should have played a four-day game before going into the first Test. That would have been a good preparation.The reason I am saying this is, you look at world cricket now and show me one team that travels well — there is not a single team. This Indian team has the opportunity. Teams go outside their country and get hammered, except for South Africa who were very good for a period of time. But now even they are struggling. Australia got hammered in India and the UAE.”