Shastri swears by the mantra of aggression

Shastri swears by the mantra of aggression

'Winning series important'

Shastri swears by the mantra of aggression

Echoing Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s mantra of all-out aggression, Team Director Ravi Shastri said there won’t be any let up in intensity from his wards, stating that it was the best way forward even if losses come along the way.

Speaking to the media after a practice session on Monday, the 53-year-old stressed on playing five bowlers and shared his thoughts on how important this three-match Test series against Sri Lanka is for this Indian side. Excerpts:

On aggression: Aggressive cricket is a form of cricket where you play to win. You don’t come to a cricket ground to draw a cricket match, so you play a brand of cricket where you look to take the game forward and you look to take 20 wickets which is paramount. You have got to think how you can take 20 wickets to take the game forward and win the game. The role I play is hammering that into their system. We don’t mind losing playing in that fashion. But it is the brand of cricket you want to play because if you get used to it, you will start winning more than you lose.
On playing five bowlers: It could be five, six or even four. Whatever it takes to take 20 wickets, you do your best. You don’t want to reach that position of the sixth bowler but you want ideally four, if not five, but the endeavour is to look to take 20 wickets so you can win matches. You have to think in that fashion, so that when you are batting well, if you get into a position you can take the game forward and try and look to give yourself time to take those 20 wickets.

Importance of winning this series: Extremely important. They have had that learning curve and they’ve done well in South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia. They’ve played a lot of cricket overseas. A guy like Ajinkya Rahane has played 15 Tests, out of which 14 are overseas. And he is only going to become a better player when he starts playing in conditions that are familiar to him. So that experience has to come into play. And then the fact that you have that additional bowler might just help you close out matches which you couldn’t and if you look back at certain matches, you will tell me today that an extra bowler there would have been helpful. Because it’s not about getting the big runs, it’s about taking the 20 wickets. And being close in the game. Look at England in the Ashes. It’s their depth in bowling that has made all the difference.

On why Sri Lanka are tough nuts to crack at home: I think they had some very good sides in the past and they play very well as a unit, as a team. When I came here first in the 80s, they won that series 1-0. They had a pretty decent attack. And right through those years in the middle, they had Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan) who was massive and of course you have Mahela (Jayawardene) and Sanga (Kumar Sangakkara). But Murali was the guy. It is again about taking 20 wickets. And he was instrumental with some of the other spinners in doing that. And that’s why they have been a force in this part of the world. They get runs. I don’t think India has won a series here since 1993. So it is a big challenge.

On his personal future: I am not bothered. I am here for this series. I will give my best shot. We will see afterwards. I have had discussions (with the BCCI) but that’s personal. It is my business. I will let you know later.