Team India director Ravi Shastri stressed on the importance of team effort as the World T20 hosts began their first pre-World T20 practice session in Kolkata on Wednesday. Shastri said that the Indian cricket team don’t depend on individual brilliance but the stress on the values of teamwork.
“We don’t talk about individuals. No individual can win you a big tournament…For that to happen, seven-eight individuals need to perform consistently,” Shastri said on Wednesday ahead of India’s warm-up game against the West Indies at Eden Gardens.
“Virat (Kohli) is in outstanding form, and so is Rohit (Sharma)… MS (Dhoni) has done well lower down the order, Yuvraj (Singh) has struck form, Shikhar (Dhawan) has had his moments,” Shastri pointed out while adding that it was positive signs for the team that most of the big players have struck form ahead of the mega event.
“We have got into a good habit of winning games. You might get the odd hiccup on the way. But it’s important to maintain a level of consistency and treat every game as an important game,” Shastri said, spelling out the importance of treating warm-up games as an important part of the preparation for the World T20.
Shastri believes the Indian team has been able to solve the jigsaw and has a strong blend of youthful exuberance and top-level international experience. “Any good side needs a balance between youth and experience. If you look at history, the world No.1 sides would always have experience and youth. The youngsters bring energy to the table and keep the seniors on their toes while they too want to emulate the seniors,” the former India captain explained.
Shastri said that it is a ‘good headache’ to not being able to find a place for world-class players like Ajinkya Rahane and Harbhajan in the lineup: “That’s the criteria for a good team – its bench strength,” Shastri pointed out. “Players like Harbhajan and Rahane can get into any team in the world. So it’s a good problem to have.”
The Team India director heaped praise on star batsman Virat Kohli and said that he is a player for the big stage.
“Every time he bats, you can see passion written all over. You can see his body language, he just loves the big stage. He wants to compete against the best in the world,” Shastri continued.
He also lashed out at those calling for MS Dhoni’s retirement and backed the Indian limited overs skipper.
“I’ve said long back that he (Dhoni) is the best. What else is left for him to be achieved… but there will still be people who want him to retire.This is normal in our country. You go after your champions,” he lamented.
India takes on West Indies at the Eden Gardens on Thursday before jetting off to Mumbai to face South Africa on Saturday (March 12) in their second warm-up match before the World T20 proper kicks off with a tie against New Zealand in Nagpur.