Shastri airs views after reappointed as Indu Head Coach
Overseeing a “smooth transition” and integrating youngsters into the national team is among Ravi Shastri’s primary objectives as he looks ahead to the next 26 months of his coaching tenure.
On Thursday, Shastri was appointed for a second successive term, with the three-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) headed by Kapil Dev deeming his international experience, track record and vision for the team superior to those of his nearest challengers Mike Hesson and Tom Moody.
“The [goal] for the next two years is to see a smooth transition happening. You will get a lot of youngsters coming in, especially in the white-ball set up,” Shastri told BCCI.tv in Antigua, where India are preparing for the two-Test series against West Indies starting August 22.
“There will be youngsters coming into the Test match set-up as well. We need to identify another three-four bowlers to add to the pool, those are the challenges so that the team at the end of my tenure in 26 months is in a happier place.
“The game has taught us to never back away from a challenge, you want to embrace it, that’s our mental framework. Look at it straight in the eye, go out and compete. We believe wherever we play, it is home, just go and think in that fashion.”
This is Shastri’s fourth stint with the Indian team, since he first took on duties as a cricket manager in 2007, immediately in the aftermath of Greg Chappell’s resignation following a first-round exit from the World Cup.
He joined India’s backroom staff as team director during the 2014 tour of England, and remained director in the absence of a head coach, when Duncan Fletcher’s tenure ended after the 2015 World Cup. Shastri was out of the set-up when Anil Kumble became head coach in June 2016, but returned as head coach after Kumble’s resignation a year later.
Since then, Shastri has overseen Test match wins in South Africa and England, and a maiden Test series win in Australia, in 2017-18. Under Shastri, India most recently reached the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup in the UK, topping the round-robin table before exiting with a loss to New Zealand. Now, he wants to carry forward from there to establish a legacy for teams to emulate.
“The reason why I came in here because I had the belief in this team, that they could leave a legacy that very few teams have left behind in years to come,” he said. “Not just for the moment, but also at the end of it all, the kind of legacy other teams going down decades will want to try to emulate. That is the desire, we’re on track, there’s always room for improvement, and with youth coming in through the ranks, it’s a very exciting time.
“Over the last four-five years, the biggest improvement has been the fielding, and the endeavor is to make this the best fielding side in the world. It is a clear diktat to whoever wants to play for this team, the standard of that particular player will have to be of the highest standard, especially in white-ball cricket.”