Ahead of the first assignment of his second stint, India head coach Ravi Shastri has opened up on his plans. Last month, the former India allrounder pipped the likes of Tom Moody and Mike Hesson to retain the high-profile job. The Kapil Dev-led Cricket Advisory Committee interviewed five candidates before deciding to persist with Ravi Shastri.
India’s next assignment is the home series against South Africa which will mark the start of Shastri’s second stint as coach. India will host the Proteas for three T20Is and as many Tests later this month. And before the start of the series, Shastri has said that his focus will be on investing in youth during his second stint.
Shastri made it clear that he has his eyes set firmly on next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia as well as the ongoing ICC World Test Championship. While Shastri has enjoyed good success with Team India, he is yet to win any ICC tournament.
“The path should be that knowing well you have got 12 months to go for the T20 World Cup and you have about 18-20 months to go for the World Test Championship,” Shastri told the Gulf News.
“Getting youth in during that transition period by keeping an eye on the youth is important so that they can mix with the experience and give us a really solid side,” he added.
He further spoke on the importance of developing the youths in order to strengthen the bench strength.
“The vision is to keep the consistency level going. It will be a team in transition and one has to keep an eye out for the youth and also keep an eye on developing the bench strength as far as batting and bowling goes across all three formats.
“We should, at the same time, be never losing sight of the fact that you play to win. Never losing that angle but yet at the same time, investing in youth,” said Ravi Shastri.
As India gear up to take on South Africa, Shastri said that winning the series is important not only for the Test Championship but also for pride.
“We are playing at home (against South Africa) and it is the World Test Championship – so now there is even more reason on why you have to play the way you should. There are now points to be accumulated.
“We are the No 1 team in the world and we have been for the last three years, so there is pride at stake as well. So we want to keep that consistency going and ensuring that we are placed nicely in the table for when the time comes from them to decide who plays in the final,” he said.
India had lost to South Africa last year and will be thus keen to avenge that loss at home. The last time India had played South Africa at home, they had blanked the Proteas 3-0.