Shastri sees no threat to India’s top ranking

Ravi Shastri said that he felt this team can challenge for the No.1 position in all three formats.

Former Team India manager Ravi Shastri also said that he felt Kohli is still evolving as a captain.   -  C.V. Subrahmanyam

India’s No. 1 ranking in Tests does not appear to be under any threat as the side continues to win.

One man who is very pleased with India’s rise is Ravi Shastri. As the former cricket manager of the side, he had been with the team during some tough campaigns. Shastri shared his thoughts with Sportstar here on Monday.

The former India captain and all-rounder said: “Over the next three to four years, I see this Indian team threatening the No. 1 position in all three formats. And this team will play well in all conditions.”

Shastri elaborated, “This team has the right attitude, plays with aggression and has both youth and experience. I mean there are several cricketers who are still young who have a lot of matches under their belt for India.”

Test skipper Virat Kohli, Shastri felt, was evolving as captain. “He is still a young captain. He will get better with experience, will become technically sounder. He’s got a bunch of bowlers who are all fit.”

Shastri added, “The best news is that Kohli has not allowed the pressures of captaincy affect his batting. He’s relaxed at the crease and leading by example.”

Kohli was also tempering his aggression, avoiding on-field scraps said Shastri. “He’s maturing and dealing with those situations differently. He is a much calmer person now and realises his responsibilities as captain.”

Shastri was impressed with Cheteshwar Pujara’s form with the bat. “He’s a very important member of the line-up at No. 3. And he is showing more intent at the crease both in attack and defence, is seeking to provide momentum to the innings.”

R. Ashwin’s bowling had Shastri nodding in appreciation. “The one big thing he’s doing right now is that he is focussing on his off-spin. And he creates angles to beat the batsmen. There is an element of deception in his bowling.”

Solid batting

Shastri said Ashwin’s solid batting at No. 6 had enabled the side field another bowler. “That’s the value of a true all-rounder. This enables India to play with five bowlers which is the right thing.”

Jayant Yadav, Shastri observed, was a good find. “He is a classical off-spinner, gives it a rip. He was very handy with the bat here and looked good on the field.”

Shastri called fast bowler Mohammed Shami the ‘Sultan of Bengal’ and added, “At present he has the best wrist and seam position in the world along with James Anderson. He’s got a potent short-ball, has pace and is skiddy. He is the finest Indian paceman at the moment and along with ‘Vidarbha Express’ Umesh Yadav forms a very good pace pair that is consistently bowling 145kmph.”

On DRS, Shastri said the third umpire should be given a bigger role. “Even after the two reviews are over, if there is an absolute howler, the third umpire must be able to intervene and overrule a decision.”