India coach Ravi Shastri hopes that his team can emerge as an ideal traveling side
What's the story?
Ahead of the test series between India and England, Indian coach Ravi Shastri has spoken out on what he expects from his Indian contingent. To put it in two simple words, the former Indian stalwart needs to see some "fearless cricket", the same brand of game he has been an advocate of in several previous series against different opponents like South Africa earlier this year.
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India come into the series fresh from a decent showing in South Africa earlier this year, where they initially lost the Test series 2-1 but bounced back incredibly to win the T20I series and then the ODI series. Coming to England in July, the side showed fighting instinct and won the T20I series and the first ODI, but then stumbled and lost the next two games to surrender the ODI series.
The upcoming five-match Test series will now show who's the boss in English conditions.
Speaking to ESPN, Shastri spoke on how his belief in the aggressive style of eplay could turn the current Indian side to potential world-beaters, even in conditions overseas that tend to contrast heavily from what the players are generally subjected to in the subcontinent, their most usual habitat. He said
"We showed some very good signs in South Africa as far as the red ball is concerned. We want to carry that forward. The challenge for us is to be consistent in the red-ball format overseas. We believe we have the potential to be one of the best traveling teams."
He observed that teams generally tend to falter when it comes to touring overseas, after torturing opponents to their own free will at home, reminding everyone about the 4-0 and 3-1 defeats from the previous times the side has toured England. However, he hopes that this time around they may be able to do better than that. Upon being asked what he feels are the advantages the men in blue holds, he said, "we have a bowling attack that can take 20 wickets, irrespective of conditions. We have the variety but we need to execute our plans in the best possible manner. And bat well, which is important."
He counts on experience too as an important factor. "A lot of players have been to England before, learning a lot and playing as a unit," he said. Apart from that, he was also keen to see how the team will use the lessons learned in the previous South Africa series, where the team won a Test on a very competitive Johannesburg surface.
Another factor that Shastri believes is key to becoming potential world-beaters, is how the opening batsmen deal with the new ball. It will always remain part of the team's plans, he said, as the ball will swing and make batsmen vulnerable. "If the openers can pass that crucial phase of the first 20-25 overs, a good platform has been set," he added, also ascertaining that his current opening options were extremely skilled in that regards.
If there is anything that the India coach will swear by, it is the aggressive brand of cricket that has been associated with him since his playing days. He stays assured that the team will "always play that way, regardless of the venue", as it sets a tone on the general attitude of the team, instilling in them a desire to win and not a desire of just saving games - something that is important if a side is to be named a good travelling side.
Finally, when asked on what he felt on how India needed to play to remain competitive in the series, he said, "we play every game to win and take the game forward. And if in trying to win we lose a game, tough luck. As long as we win more than we lose, we are happy."
The much-awaited Test series between India and England will begin with the first game at Edgbaston, Birmingham on August 1st, 2018. Both India and England have a few last-minute issues to ponder over, and hopefully, issues will be sorted within another three days, the time remaining until the game will begin.