Source: The Hitavada      Date: 24 Dec 2018 10:37:35




RAVI Shastri was dismissive of all the flak the Indian team has copped and took a dig at critics for “firing blanks while sitting million miles away”. India were humbled by Australia in the second Test in Perth by 146 runs, prompting the likes of legendary Sunil Gavaskar to question the team management’s selection policies and demanding more accountability from captain Virat Kohli and the head coach. Shastri didn’t take any names but in his inimitable style rubbished all criticism, making it evident that he has not taken it too well.

“When you are millions of miles away, it is very easy to fire blanks. Their comments are too far away and we are in the Southern hemisphere. We have to do what’s best for the team, as simple as that,” the India head coach fired a counter salvo at all the ex-cricketers, who haven’t had exactly charitable comments about the team.

When asked about selection conundrum, Shastri said the only dilemma is whether to play Ravindra Jadeja or not unlike what some experts made it out to be. “Apart from Jadeja, I don’t think there was any other selection dilemma and if there was, it is not my problem,” Shastri replied with his usual swagger.

When asked about Jadeja’s on-field spat with Ishant Sharma that was caught on camera during the second Test, the coach replied,”I am never surprised (by such coverage). I love coverage, bring it on, as simple as that. In many ways, it can inspire a team to come together and let us hope it does,” the coach said. There was no surprises when Shastri backed skipper Virat Kohli, whose on-field behaviour has been questioned by the Australian experts.

“He was fantastic. What is wrong with his behaviour? Of course, you can question but as far as we are concerned, he is an absolute gentleman,” said Shastri. Shastri however admitted that top-order has been an issue for the team with both KL Rahul and Murali Vijay failing in four successive innings in the two Tests.

“Top-order problems are a big concern, that’s obvious. Responsibility and accountability has to be taken by the top order. I am sure they have got the experience and exposure over the last few years to get out there and deliver,” said Shastri, backing Rahul-Vijay to come good. He did gave indication that team management is seriously looking at Mayank Agarwal as an option.

“Mayank is a good young player. He has got loads of runs for India A. He is someone who has come through the ranks and when you look at his domestic record, his performances are as good as anyone. So that’s a call we will have to take,” he added. When asked if India have lost any momentum in Perth, Shastri said that the team are in a unique position at 1-1 in the series, one they didn’t experience in South Africa or England.

“We have not lost any morale in Perth. We knew we had our chances there in Perth as well, so we are ready. We are at 1-1 in a Test series in Australia.”

“Very rarely have we been in a position (this year) where we are 1-1, and it is not often for a team, when they travel overseas, that they are placed 1-1 with two Tests to go. So the boys know what they can do and what they are capable of. The potential lies ahead. We will be third time lucky (after South Africa and England),” Shastri signed off.


Fitness under scanner: Jadeja carrying shoulder stiffness from India: Shastri



INDIA coach Ravi Shastri Sunday revealed that senior spinner Ravindra Jadeja had been suffering from stiff shoulder from the time he was playing Ranji Trophy and was given injections four days after landing in Australia.

Jadeja’s fitness issue came up as a surprise as he was included in the 13-man squad for the second Test in Perth. And he fielded for a major part of the two Australian innings as well, thus posing questions about Indian team’s injury management programme.

“Problem with Jadeja was that he had taken an injection four days after coming to Australia because of some stiffness in his shoulder,” Shastri said during a media conference.

“It has taken a while for that injection to settle down. He had some stiffness when he was in India as well but he did play domestic cricket after that. Then he felt the same on coming here to Australia and he was injected,” Shastri replied but it did raise questions if the player travelled Down Under without being hundred percent fit.

“It (Jadeja’s recovery) has taken longer than we expected and we wanted to be careful. Last thing you want is someone breaking down after 5-10 overs and then we would be stuck for players to pick for Melbourne and Sydney.

A fit Jadeja was picked for Australia series, asserts BCCI

THE BCCI on Sunday clarified that all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was indeed fit for the ongoing Test series and his shoulder injury flared only after landing in Australia. Jadeja was included in the 13-member squad for the Perth Test but has not played since and according to the BCCI, he lacked “required intensity” while bowling during the net sessions.

Chief coach Ravi Shastri revealed earlier in the day that Jadeja’s shoulder injury took more time to heal than expected.It raised questions about the team’s injury management as off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin also missed out on the Perth Test due to his respective injury.

“Mr Jadeja’s left shoulder has continued to improve and he is now available for the 3rd Test match of the series in Melbourne,” the BCCI said in a statement.