Ravi Shastri Say to Batsmen Improved Our Skill at Trent Bridge
India coach Ravi Shastri on Thursday called on his struggling batsmen.
Under-fire India coach Ravi Shastri, on Thursday, called on his struggling batsmen to show more discipline and grit when the third Test against England gets underway at Trent Bridge on Saturday.
Nottingham: Under-fire India coach Ravi Shastri on Thursday called on his struggling batsmen to show more discipline and grit when the third Test against England gets underway at Trent Bridge on Saturday.
He said that despite tough conditions, the need of the hour is to show resolve and play gritty cricket. England lead the five-match series 2-0 after posting wins at Birmingham and Lord’s.
“Conditions have been tough right through this series. But that’s where character and discipline come into play. The resolve is to know where your off stump is, leave a lot of balls, be prepared to look ugly and dirty and show some grit,” said Shastri.
“I don’t think its fair to single out any one player,” he added, when asked about Ajinkya Rahane’s struggles on this tour.
“Batsmen from both teams have struggled. When the occasion demands, it’s a case of mental resolve and how you put mind over matter. Mental discipline will be the key as far as batsmen are concerned going forward in this Test match. Rahane is one of our pillars and he will remain so.”
There is some good news ahead of the must-win Test for India. Skipper Virat Kohli is nearing full fitness ahead of the game as he batted without any discomfort and also took slip catching.
India all-rounder Hardik Pandya .
Indian fast bowling great Michael Holding feels Hardik Pandya is not yet the all-rounder India wants him to be, because he is ineffective as a bowler and also not scoring enough runs with the bat.
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“If he was a good batsman, if he was getting runs – 60s, 70s, not even regular hundreds – at the number at which he bats and then he bowls and gets two or three wickets, happy, hallelujah.”
“Happy with that. But he is not getting the amount of runs that can then allow him to get a wicket or two in the Test match. That doesn’t work.”
Pandya made his Test debut last July in Sri Lanka, scoring a fifty in Galle and followed it with his maiden Test century in Pallekelle in his third Test.
He has played nine Tests so far and, barring the home series against Sri Lanka for which he was rested late last year, he has been the only constant in the Indian Test XI along with captain Virat Kohli.
Before the Lord’s Test, Pandya had gone wicketless for four Tests, starting from the second match in South Africa in January, and Holding said he did not have many skills.
“I don’t think he does a lot with the ball. That is number one,” he said.
“He is not consistent. He does not have the control that puts batsmen under pressure constantly. He will bowl a couple of good deliveries, yes, but you need to have the control to put batsmen under pressure consistently. And he doesn’t have that.”
“If you are going to be a frontline bowler anywhere in the world, if you are going to be someone that your captain can rely on, then can throw you the ball and expect you to get wickets and expect you to have control. He is not really the man in my opinion,” Holding said.
Jasprit Bumrah, R Ashwin and Hardik Pandya have already been declared fit for the game.
India will be looking to find the best combination for the game, and the coach admitted that they had made a mistake going with an extra spinner at Lord’s.
“Kohli is feeling much better. You saw him in the nets he is moving much better and improving by the day.
“In hindsight, it (picking second spinner) was an error. We should have gone, seeing the conditions, with an extra seamer. It might have helped. Then again, you didn’t know how much it would rain, whether a match could go into the final day where just in case a second spinner is needed and the ball starts to turn, would we have needed him?
“But the way things panned out, the amount it rained, the time we lost, a seamer could have been a better option,” said Shastri.
England are on the cusp of wrapping up the series with victory at Trent Bridge, and the only way India can avoid that is to register only their second win in six overseas Tests in 2018.
Shastri said that the team knows how to do it because they have been in this position before.
“Just believe in your self,” he said, when asked what he has told the team post defeat at Lord’s.
“You have been in this position couple of times before and you have responded. There is no reason why you can’t now. One thing for sure in this unit, there is no negative bone.”
“Despite what happened in the last Test match, conditions favoured England but that is no excuse whatsoever. It can happen to any side. We are here without a negative bone and wanting to play to win, as simple as that.”
England have a selection headache at hand with the return of Ben Stokes. Shastri said that India see no problem in why he shouldn’t be playing this game, and rejected the idea that any on-field chatter could be used to rile Stokes up or indeed used against India given their loss in the previous game.
“We focus on cricket. Stokes is a terrific cricketer, and we would like to play against top cricketers. If the courts have cleared him, what’s the reason for him not to play? If I were in England’s position I would have wanted him to play.”
“This team is not worried about who winds whom up. It will give you back as good as it gets, as simple as that. It doesn’t matter if the opponent is England, Australia or South Africa. We kept it very simple. If it is a vocabulary I understand, I will give it back in that vocabulary, otherwise in the vocabulary I know best,” he said.
Last but not the least, the Indian team paid its respect to late former skipper Ajit Wadekar before practice. The players and entire support staff observed two minutes of silence.
“Very sad. On behalf of the whole Indian cricket team, we would like to offer condolences to his family. I knew Ajit very well from a young age. He lived in the same building as I do and all I will say is that he was one of our finest captains and a great manager.
“When it came to man management skills, he was as shrewd as anyone you will ever get as a captain,” Shastri signed off.
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