Shastri: Consistency will be key for India

Looking at India’s good Twenty20 record, where it won 10 out of the 11 matches in the last two months, Ravi Shastri, the India team director, said it is crucial to maintain the level of consistency by treating every game as important.

Ravi Shastri has a word with Virat Kohli during a training session in Kolkata on Wednesday.   -  AP

India team director Ravi Shastri insisted that maintaining a consistent performance will be India’s focus in the ICC World Twenty20. Looking at India’s good Twenty20 record, where it won 10 out of the 11 matches in the last two months, Shastri said it is crucial to maintain the level of consistency by treating every game as important. The team director felt that the dressing room unity will also play a big factor in ensuring a good performance.

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“We are not a team of individuals, we are the Indian cricket team. To win a big tournament, you need seven-eight individuals performing consistently,” Shastri said on the eve of India’s first warm up match against West Indies, which happens here at the Eden Gardens on Thursday. Saying that even the warm-up games should be taken seriously, Shastri pointed out the need for consistency. “Every game is important from here. We have got into a good habit of winning games. You might get the odd hiccup on the way. But it is important to maintain a level of consistency and treat every game as an important game,” Shastri said.



Ravi Shastri's interaction with the media
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Shastri said it is good for the team if more players have hit good form. “Virat (Kohli) is in outstanding form, and so is Rohit (Sharma). M. S. (Dhoni) has done well lower down the order and Yuvraj (Singh) has also struck form. Shikhar (Dhawan) also has had his moments,” Shastri said.

Balanced

The Indian team director attributed his team’s success to a right blend of youth and experience. “Any good side needs 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, they want to emulate the juniors,” Shastri said, hinting at the fact that a healthy competition keeps the team going.

The former India captain believes the Indian team has good balance which even extends to the bench, with the presence of players like Ajinkya Rahane and >Harbhajan Singh making it a “good headache”.

“The good thing is to know the people who make our bench strength. We have the likes of Harbhajan and Rahane. Players like them can get into any team in the world. It is a good headache,” Shastri said.

'Majority will be cheering India'

The team director reserved special praise for Kohli, saying, “Every time he (Kohli) bats you can see passion written all over. If you see his body language, he just loves the big stage. He wants to compete against the best in the world.”

On the India versus Pakistan league match getting shifted to Kolkata, Shastri said India will get equal home support wherever it plays. “Wherever we play, India-Pakistan will draw a huge crowd. We will be playing at home, so majority will be cheering India,” the former allrounder said.