Even though bowling has taken a massive beating lately, with the absence of impeccable Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja, hopes are high on the batting order to pull the Indian side out of the woods in the tough Aussie conditions during the T20 World Cup, starting later this week.
Since the England T20 series in July, India adopted a rather refreshing approach to batting, with the typically restrained batters delivering high-quality attacking cricket upfront. The likes of KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli have dropped their anchoring approach to play in a mix and match avatar. But fundamentally the difference has been created by the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik, which India’s former head coach Ravi Shastri believes, is the fundamental to allowing the top order to play the way they like.
"I have been part of the system for the last six-seven years, first as a coach and now I am watching from the outside, and I think this is as good a line-up as India has ever had in T20 cricket. With Surya at No 4, Hardik at No 5, and Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik at No 6 it makes a massive difference," Shastri said at an interaction at the Mumbai Press Club on Wednesday. "It allows the top order to play the way they are playing."
However, the 60-year-old has some doubt as far as India’s fielding is concerned. With Ravindra Jadeja, hailed the finest modern-day fielder, being out of the T20 World Cup, India have an elephant in the room to address. Shastri was adamant that it would be a crucial need for the inaugural edition champions to be worried about.
"One area that India will have to pick up and start right from the beginning is fielding. They need to work hard and get their A game on the field when they step out against Pakistan. Those 15-20 runs that you save can make all the difference because otherwise every time you get out to bat, you need to get 15-20 runs extra. For sides like Australia, England, South Africa they field like crazy. Look at what Sri Lanka did in the Asia Cup with fielding. They won a tight game against Pakistan riding on fielding," Shastri added.
Even though the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) election has been scheduled for October 18, it has been learnt that the roll has already seen Roger Binny taking over the mantle as the BCCI president from Sourav Ganguly. While there has been little shake-ups in the structure, with Brijesh Patel making way for Arun Dhumal as the IPL Chairman, the board is moving forward with Jay Shah as the secretary. Shastri was elated by the appointment of Binny, his teammate in the 1983 World Cup.
"I am extremely happy because it's a World Cup winner who is the president for the first time in the history of the BCCI. His credentials are unquestionable, you look at his integrity, his character as a performer for India and he is a World Cup winner. He's got all the boxes ticked to become the president of the BCCI."
"Being a cricketer himself, he will ensure that the interest of cricketers is paramount, not the 'A' tier that will sustain itself, but the grassroot level. Primarily, domestic cricket. It has been given a lot of attention to, but can be given a lot more attention. Then there's women's cricket that's taking off across the globe. We are not far away from winning a (women's) World Cup. That will trigger something special in this country. He will keep an eye on all that cricketing matters,” Shastri added.