Shastri: ‘Next 18 months will define Indian cricket’

Ravi Shastri said the team was aware about what lies ahead on the tours of South Africa, England and Australia the next 18 months.

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli attend a press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday.   -  PTI

Ravi Shastri said the team was aware about what lies ahead on the tours of South Africa, England and Australia the next 18 months. “They are looking forward to it. All the boys. It’s going to be a challenge. We all know how tough it’s going to be but that’s the beauty of their profession,” he said.

“They want challenge and they embrace it. We toured Australia. We did a pretty good job. We did well in England. Sri Lanka in 2015 had some great tracks especially in the last two Tests where the ball seamed and swung.”

The coach reckons that the nucleus of the team has remained the same in the last few years and that will help players in embracing the challenges ahead. "The fact that they have been together for the last four five years, that experience will stand them in good stead, that's for sure. The conditions will be testing, but like I have said before, this one and half years will define this Indian cricket team and the whole team is aware of that," Shastri said.

"With the tours of South Africa, Australia and England coming up, all I can say this will be better cricket team after those 18 months," Shastri said at the pre-departure press conference along with newly-wed captain Virat Kohli.

The Indian team pummelled Sri Lanka in the just-concluded series and before that enjoyed success against Australia, England, New Zealand and Bangladesh at home. The ability of the Indian batsmen in pace and bounce friendly pitches becomes talking point during the abroad tours and Shastri said Indian pacers too have a job at hand.

Asked if Jasprit Bumrah, who has proved his utility in limited-overs formats, could be successful in Tests as well, Shastri seemed very optimistic. "In 50-over and 20-20 he has shown how good he is. He is one of the best in the world and it is acknowledged by his opponents. He has also shown he is a quick learner. When he has played for Gujarat, he has done well.

"He has taken five-wicket hauls, six-wicket hauls and run through oppositions. His confidence level is high and is a good time to get him in," Shastri said.