Ravi Shastri: India's Tri-series exit before the World Cup has worked wonders
Indian team director Ravi Shastri has said that the 10-day break which the Men in Blue got after they failed to qualify for the finals of the Carlton Mid Tri-series helped them recharge their batteries and bring out their best at the ongoing 2015 Cricket World Cup.
MS Dhoni’s men have registered two commanding wins over Pakistan and South Africa in the marquee event so far, and the 52-year-old informed that the players were never really concerned about their poor form prior to the World Cup and were always confident of delivering at the big stage.
“Nothing's changed. I think what they desperately needed was a break. That ten-day rest they got after the triangular series was a massive bonus because the kind of cricket they had played in the one month of Test cricket was very, very draining.
“People don't realise the intensity with which India played. With a little bit of luck, the series could have been 1-1. And it's not often you play four Test matches in a month. And then straightaway, the triangular series after that didn't help,” Shastri told Wisden India.
“Unfortunately, it was there in the itinerary so you had to go through the motions, which we literally did. But the break was tremendous because it was mental fatigue more than physical fatigue that was creeping in. That's why that break was very timely.
“As for the stuff said and written, the beauty is the boys don't read and think about the nonsense. It is for people to say that there is nonsense written, they are not even bothered one bit because they know how well they have played in Australia. It's just a case of being up and ready for the big occasion, and they have started off extremely well,” he added.
We were always confident about Shikhar Dhawan getting back to form: Shastri
One of the most pleasing sights for an Indian cricket fan in the tournament so far has been the way opener Shikhar Dhawan has repaid the enormous faith that the team management have shown in him.
The left-hander endured a torrid time on the tour of Australia, scoring 167 runs in the 3 Tests that he played before being dropped for the fourth Test at Sydney and went through further misery in the tri-series that followed, amassing just 49 runs in 4 matches.
But the former all-rounder believes that the 29-year-old wasn’t far away from getting back among the runs again and nobody in the team had any worries about the lack of runs from his blade.
“Shikhar was due. It was a matter of time before he hurt somebody because he was playing well - but one edge and he was gone. It was not that he was getting out for 2, 3, 4. He was getting 30s, 40s, and then getting out. It was just a matter of time before he converted one knock into a big one and took it from there.
“Even against Pakistan, with a little bit of luck, he could have got a hundred there, he was run out. He could have had two hundreds in two games. But he struck it beautifully, he is a dominating player and not for one minute was there a doubt in anybody's mind about his form,” he said.
Bowlers’ performances a pleasant surprise: Shastri
Shastri also expressed surprise over the way the Indian seamers have bowled so far, saying that there has been a contribution from every bowler and also felt that they don't get as much applause for their efforts as they should be.
“A pleasant surprise, and that's why teams should watch out because anyone taking this bowling unit lightly, it is at their own peril. What sometimes upsets you is when other people have three fast bowlers, other teams, and they bowl at 140 and bowl like how India does, they are a great bowling team. But when Indians bowl at 140 and do it like that, nothing. No one mentions it. So it's time they got something back. They should have been given credit for their performances. They have been dishing it out, and doing it collectively.
“It is not one guy performing. It is being backed, creating pressure, bowling in tandem together, bowling well in tandem. Not just the pacers, I think (R) Ashwin and Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) have done a fabulous job as well. Seeing the way the ball is coming out of Ash's hand is very promising,” the 1983 World Cup-winner said.