Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has expressed his desire for the Indian cricket team to transition away from the reliance on veteran players Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Instead, Shastri believes that the team should focus on incorporating young, in-form players in their upcoming T20I matches. He emphasizes the need to expose and give opportunities to these talented youngsters, while also keeping Kohli and Sharma fresh for one-day cricket and Test matches.
“Your focus there with that kind of experience should move to Test cricket, red-ball cricket for the future World Test Championship, and they stay fresh (so that) there is not too much of cricket where there is an overkill,” Shastri was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 15, 2023
Shastri advocates for a well-balanced batting lineup consisting of both left-hand and right-hand batters, each playing specific roles. He suggests that the selection criteria for the Indian squad should be based solely on the players’ current form, highlighting the importance of performance in recent matches.
“One year is a long time. Players can be in form; the form can disappear. You will pick the best guys at the time, and then, of course, the experience will count, fitness will count. Who is hot at the moment, who is consistent, who has got the runs and where he has got the runs. It should be the right man for the right job. It shouldn’t be a guy who bats at three or four for his franchise, and suddenly you make him bat at six or open the innings when it comes to picking a team for India. I would like the mix of left-hand-right-hand batting combination. Just like you look for a left-armer with the ball, I would like to see left-handers there. You see this IPL, teams that have done well, look at the mix that they have,” he added./
Regarding the wicketkeeper-batter position, Shastri considers the number six or seven spot as ideal. With Rishabh Pant recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident last year, Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson currently fill the role. Shastri also mentions Jitesh, who has displayed strong finishing skills for the Punjab Kings, as a potential addition to the mix.
“If there are other good openers, you might want a wicketkeeper who bats at six or seven. Yet, if your opening is a bit weak, you might want to look for a keeper who might open the batting. That number becomes very important and what are your reserves, what are your strengths… Therein you fit in the bloke. It applies everywhere in that team,” he added.
“Oh, you will get that right with Hardik. He’ll get that right where he will want his six bowlers including himself and players for the right numbers. Just seeing the way he has captained Gujarat Titans, you can see there is a player for a number and there is a role which he will take forward to the Indian team.”
Furthermore, Shastri believes that Hardik Pandya, who has previously captained India in T20Is and led the Gujarat Titans in the IPL, can effectively place the right individuals in the appropriate positions within the team.