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Only the fittest will survive - Shastri makes fielding a top priority for India

Fitness will be among India's top priorities as Ravi Shastri seeks to ensure his team are "the best fielding XI" at the 2019 World Cup.

Ravi Shastri - cropped
India head coach Ravi Shastri

Head coach Ravi Shastri is determined to ensure India are the best fielding side at the 2019 World Cup, insisting the team's fitness is among his top priorities.

World Cup semi-finalists two years ago, India are highly likely to be among the favourites when the next edition of the tournament takes place in England and Wales.

"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," said Shastri in an interview with the Times of India.

"Only the fittest of the lot will survive and thrive going forward and that's right up there in the list of priorities."

Formerly India's team director, Shastri succeeded Anil Kumble as India's head coach last month.

His first series back at the helm proved an undoubted success, India emphatically winning three Tests out of three in Sri Lanka.

"The World Cup has its own space that needs to be respected. And while that remains the goal, a fact also remains that if India need to show their real might in the game, then achieving results in Test cricket is the pinnacle," Shastri said.

"World Cups keep coming every four years and, of course, we all understand its importance from a global and fan perspective. But if this team really has to be tested, then it's Test cricket and we have plenty of it coming up next year."

Shastri was clearly delighted with India's performances in their recent Tests and added: "When was the last time that Sri Lanka were beaten like this at home?

"I'd like to wait and see how some other teams cope against this same Sri Lankan team in the near future. But then, this is not about Sri Lanka, this is about the Indian team and the manner in which they have stamped their authority here."

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