Ravi Shastri: Losing the first Test was a good lesson

India is still on top of World Test Championship points table and Shastri feels that there shouldn’t be undue panic after just one defeat.

Team India head coach Ravi Shastri looks on during a practice session.   -  GETTY IMAGES

As an opening batsman, Ravi Shastri relished pushing deliveries down the ground. He played the percentage game, batted straight.

And a coach, Shastri is someone who talks straight. No roundabout answers. He gets to the point quickly, does not go into a denial mode.

On Friday, when he was asked about India’s inability to make short work of the tail, a factor that has often haunted this side, Shastri accepted the shortcoming.

“It has been a problem for us in the last year or so. In spite of us doing well. We’ve had a chat on this. We have been over-aggressive or at times too defensive. We will look to address it in a different manner. You will see it,” he said.

When queried about R. Ashwin, Shastri observed, “He is a world-class bowler. He has bowled well over the years and if anything, he will be disappointed with the way he has batted. He would want to improve on his batting in time to come. We have had conversations on this.”

On having to choose between Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for a place in the eleven, Shastri said, “We will see how much of a role a spinner has, first of all. How many overs you think he is going to bowl in the game.”

“Is there going to be something for him on day four or five. Will the second innings be that important. Do you need him more in the first innings of a game? Is his batting going to count? Is his fielding going to count? Is his overall fitness going to count? Those are areas you look into,” he added.

Shastri felt a defeat, such as the one the Indian team experienced in the first Test was sometimes good for the side.

“I always believe when you are on a run like we were, a shake-up like that is good because it opens your mindset.”

“When you are on the road winning all the time, or you have not tasted defeat, you can have a closed mindset. I thought we were a little conservative and tentative in that first Test. Winning away from the sub-continent in red-ball cricket is always difficult. You need to adapt.”

Talking about Indian pacemen, Shastri exuded confidence. “Bumrah is very close to getting a five-for or a six-for, might happen tomorrow. Similarly with Shami, so nothing to worry about. The Indian bowlers have to be more patient, bowl more deliveries in the right areas and create the pressure.”

Looking at the second Test, Shastri is not short of optimism.

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