After a humiliating loss in Galle to Sri Lanka, the Indians have come under tremendous criticism from all sections of the society. The response to the stubborn management of the players by the BCCI has been heavily maligned. While team director Ravi Shastri focused on greater aggression through playing 5 bowlers, his batsmen let the team down and that extra dose of aggression cost India the match.
Shastri spoke recently about India’s loss and said that the side was just one victory away from regaining confidence and momentum. When quizzed about India’s strategies for the upcoming test, Shastri gave a stern response. “We won’t change our style of play. It will be exactly like how it was in the first match. We made one mistake (in the first game). Of course to close it out we will have to walk the distance… till the end,” Shastri said.
The Indian team director, when asked about the team cracking under pressure said that such a thing wasn’t the case. Shastri chose to remain optimistic for the future. “It was not a question of buckling under pressure. They sensed the pitch could deteriorate. The pressure was brought on. My general feeling is that if they can get one (victory) on the board it will be the start of many,” he said.
“They go out with intent. The endeavour of this team is to play fearless cricket that comes with mindset. These boys have enough talent, I am sure they must have thought after the match why I didn’t play this shot, why I didn’t play in this manner,” said Shastri.
Regarding Kohli, Shastri gave a straight response and said that he would just get better with time. “Kohli will learn. The more you play, the more you learn.”
However, Shastri was in complete admiration of Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara, who is about to play his final test. Shastri went on to compare Sangakkara with Sir Don Bradman. “I saw him from his first game,” Shastri said. “I was commentating on that game when he played and he is still around. He broke into being one of the top two or three players and he never got out of that. There might have been one year or a six-month period where his form might have dipped. But otherwise, for sheer consistency, he is unmatched,” said Shastri.
“There are very few players who fall in that list. You can bring Sachin Tendulkar in that league as the kind of player that once broke into the top two or three never moved out of there. Sangakkara’s record shows you that. He has got runs world over and scored double hundreds like it is a pass time. He is equal with Sir Donald Bradman. We love Sanga for the way he has entertained and he has been a fantastic ambassador for the game of cricket,” said the Indian team director.
Shastri concluded by praising Sangakkara’s ability to adapt to any condition. “His ability to adapt and concentrate and his ability to bat for long periods of time. He had a wide range of shots, understood his game well and obviously worked as hard as any you would get. Also, his simple ability to assess the conditions very quickly, be it England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies or Colombo made him very special.”