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Ravi Shastri wants India to be best fielding side at 2019 Cricket World Cup

Ravi Shastri, Indian cricket team’s head coach, wants his side to be the “best fielding XI” at the 2019 World Cup in England.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 16, 2017 15:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ravi Shastri,Indian Cricket Team,India vs Sri Lanka
Ravi Shastri was appointed as Indian cricket team’s head coach following Anil Kumble’s controversial exit from the post owing to his “untenable” relationship with Virat Kohli.(AP)

Ravi Shastri has laid emphasis on Indian cricket team’s fielding, highlighting it as the key area heading into the 2019 World Cup in England.

Shastri was appointed as India’s head coach following Anil Kumble’s controversial exit from the post owing to his “untenable” relationship with Virat Kohli.

(Read | Why MS Dhoni may not make it to 2019 Cricket World Cup)

While the team travelled to West Indies without a head coach, Shastri was welcomed back by Virat Kohli and Co. with a 3-0 Test series win in Sri Lanka.

“A disciplined approach is what counts. Look at this series. Barring the two no-balls in the second Test from Hardik and one in the third game from Mohammed Shami, we’ve not faltered. How many catches did we drop? Two? Going forward, that is what we need to avoid altogether,” he said.

(Read | Hardik Pandya happy to be even 10 per cent as good as Kapil Dev was for India)

“When the time comes for India to field a side for the 2019 50-over World Cup, we should have the best fielding XI in the world walking out. Only the fittest of the lot will survive and thrive going forward and that’s right up there in the list of priorities.”

Ravi Shastri feels his return to the Indian team has been smooth because he is in charge of the side he had put in place in his previous stint as team director.

“I said at the start of the (Sri Lanka) tour that I’m walking into a set-up which I had put in place and was working on until a year ago. That’s the same set-up I’ve walked back into,” said Ravi Shastri, who represented India in 80 Tests and 150 ODIs.

(Read | Upul Tharanga to lead Sri Lanka in ODI series against Indian cricket team)

“The trust is there. I can’t speak of the time when I wasn’t around, but what I can say with a sense of absolute belief is that nothing has changed between how things were during my last stint and now.”

With Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane all crossing the three-figure mark, KL Rahul slamming crucial fifties and the lower middle-order making those useful contributions in Sri Lanka, Shastri expects good days ahead during overseas tours.

“To be honest, with a batting unit like this one, the last thing you’d do is lose sleep. The core is such a good one and I’m glad the way Shikhar [Dhawan] is timing the ball. He’s got two big hundreds that have put him in the frame of mind that he loves to be in,” Shastri told a leading newspaper.

(Read | Seasoned India can now focus on bigger battles)

“Cheteshwar [Pujara] has been batting like a dream and he’s in a zone where he has set his targets going forward. And as if all of this wasn’t enough, you saw a knock of a different kind here the other day.

“Hardik Pandya’s century simply changed the course of an entire Test in less than an hour. We were thinking of going ahead by 60 to 80 runs when the tail was batting and look where we ended. Five batsmen got a hundred in this series and close to 10 cricketers got 50-plus scores, which is a first in Test cricket for any team,” he added.

(Read | India vs Sri Lanka ODIs: Upul Tharanga pleads for patience after Test debacle)

Shastri also heaped praise on Hardik Pandya and Wriddhiman Saha: “Hardik may still be new to Test cricket but he’s showing what a quick learner he is. As Virat [Kohli] said, he’s been the biggest positive of this series. He was working on the cutters for the first time on the morning of the day’s play with Arun and he didn’t flinch once in going out and testing it the same day.

“As for Saha, he has been excellent, be it his wicketkeeping, batting or catching. He had always been an unwavering guy in domestic cricket for years and that hard work is showing. He’s grown so much in confidence and remember, he’s walking into MS’ [Dhoni] shoes. He’s done phenomenally well to grow out of that shadow.”

First Published: Aug 16, 2017 15:45 IST