Ravi Shastri believes Virat Kohli’s India team has the potential to be the best ever

Ravi Shastri isn’t fazed by the challenge of tough overseas tours, seeing it as an opportunity to achieve more than any other previous India side in history.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 01, 2017 19:52 IST
Hindustan Times, Colombo
India national cricket team,Ravi Shastri,Sri Lanka national cricket team
Ravi Shastri believes this India side has an opportunity to go where no other Indian side has been before. (REUTERS)

India chief coach Ravi Shastri said there was nothing to change when he entered the dressing room for his current stint, having taken over the team from Anil Kumble for the Sri Lanka series. For him, it was only about pressing the play button, he declared.

“For me, I don’t carry any baggage. For me it was like walking into the dressing room as I had left it. Nothing had changed and no special buttons I had to press. It was just that one play button and off you went,” said Shastri after India’s practice session at the Sinhalese Sports Club Stadium on Tuesday.

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Asked what he did miss in the dressing room when he came back, Shastri said: “I wasn’t there for the last 12 months so I don’t know. But when I got in, it was pretty much from where I left. I didn’t see any change, the nucleus of the team is pretty much the same and I know what to expect from them, they know what to expect from me. There is no need to reinvent the wheel or anything of that sort.”

Speaking specifically on the change in dressing room atmosphere, and if he had to transform it, Shastri said, “I don’t know what it was like 10 months ago. As far as I am concerned, I just had to walk in. That was enough. I was not there for the last 12 months so I don’t know, but when I got in it was pretty much from where I had left. I didn’t see any change.”

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Talking about the Galle win, he said the team was seeking consistency. “The boys were fantastic in the last Test match but what we are striving for is improvement. There are still areas to improve from the last game. We have discussed that and what we want from this team as a unit collectively is consistency. Not just where you are good in one game and totally the opposite in the other. Your levels of consistency have to be high.”

All praise for Virat Kohli & Co, the chief coach said the current team could better the accomplishments of previous team and take Indian cricket to a higher level. Their main challenge will start later this season when they start touring South Africa and England. But Shastri was upbeat and saw an opportunity in it.

“Like I said earlier in the press conference, this team has been with each other for two years and is much more experienced now. They have already done things that a lot of Indian teams and a lot of big names couldn’t do in their careers. For example, win a series here (in Sri Lanka) for 20 years. A lot of big names have played for 20 years, they have come to Sri Lanka many times and have never won a series. But they have done that.

“They have won a one-day series in 20 years which a lot of teams haven’t done. This team is used to doing things that a lot of other teams haven’t done and that too overseas. Forget Australia, I am not even touching the Australia tour, so when you say overseas like South Africa, England, it is a lot of tough cricket coming up and I see it as an opportunity. I am very positive here that this team can do things that probably no other Indian team has done.”

First Published: Aug 01, 2017 17:13 IST