Ravi Shastri: World Cup an obsession for Team India

Ravi Shastri talks about Team India's confidence and form ahead of the New Zealand tour and says the World Cup remains an obsession for the team.

“The World Cup remains an obsession and we will do all (we can) to fulfil that ambition,” Ravi Shastri said ahead of the start of India’s tour of New Zealand.   -  K.V.S. Giri

Winning a World title is an “obsession” for India coach Ravi Shastri, who says the upcoming six ODIs against New Zealand and South Africa could be used as a platform for his team’s preparations for the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia this October.

“The toss will be taken out of the equation, we will play well irrespective of conditions, of opponents and in every country of the world. That’s what our aim is and that is what we are chasing. Yes, the World Cup remains an obsession and we will do all (we can) to fulfil that ambition,” Shastri told PTI ahead of the start of India’s tour of New Zealand.

He added that the wasn’t focussing on the kind of surfaces New Zealand will dish out. “We, as a team, don’t think about all that. We address something when we see it. We see facts, we address. We don’t go into the history or the past.”

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India will play five T20 Internationals, three ODIs and two Test matches starting with the shortest format on January 24. The ODI series against South Africa will be held in March.

The hallmark of this team is enjoying each others’ success, said Shastri: “The word ‘I’ is not there in our dictionary. It’s ‘we’ That’s what this team stands for. It celebrates each other’s achievements because it’s the team that wins.”

The 2-1 series win against a full-strength Australian side was a reflection of the Indian team's “mental strength”, which came back strongly after being outplayed in the opening game.

“The Australia series was proof of the mental strength and the ability to play under pressure. After the hammering at the Wankhede, to come back and play like the way we did, merits a lot of credit and praise.

“It showed courage and as Virat (Kohli) used the word brave, it showed we are unafraid to play brave cricket and with intent,” said Shastri.

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While Shastri is pleased with the series win against the mighty Australians, the 57-year-old said his team had moved on and is solely focussed on the the New Zealand series. He said: “This team lives in the present. Whatever has happened in the past is history. We look to do what we did well in the past, in future also.”

Skipper Virat Kohli had recently said K. L. Rahul would be a wicketkeeping option and Shastri seconded the view, saying he is happy that the team has got a multipurpose player of Rahul’s quality.

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“We love options,” he said. However, Shastri was left ruing Shikhar Dhawan's shoulder injury, which has ruled him out of the New Zealand tour. “Very sad because he (Dhawan) is a senior player. He is a match-winner. When someone suffers an injury of that sort, everyone is hurt in the team,” he said.

- Kedar to get look in, no word on Suryakumar -

The Team India coach went on reject rumours that Kedar Jadhav has outlived his utility as an ODI player. “Kedar is an integral part of the ODI team that will play in New Zealand. He will be treated like every other player.”

When asked if India's spin combination of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal would play together, he said: “That’s a call we will take. We play ‘Horses for Courses.’ We will judge it in that direction.”

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Suryakumar Yadav’s has proven over time that he could be an integral part of the Indian team as a potential match winner, but Shastri was non-committal on his selection. “That’s a selector’s job. I don’t get involved in that department as such,” he said.

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