'Focus on youth prior to World T20, Test Championship'

'Focus on youth prior to World T20, Test Championship'

Head coach Ravi Shastri (AFP)

India head coach Ravi Shastri says focus will be on investing in youth during his second stint in the top position as India begin preparations for next year's World T20 and the later stages of the ongoing World Test Championship.

The former India all-rounder is pretty clear about the kind of composition he would like in the coming days.

"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' on his return from the tour of Caribbean.

"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."

The coach stressed on the consistency and developing 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 Shastri.

At the same time, Shastri said that with points at stake, World Test Championship is a serious business.

"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."

Shastri was pleased as punch that his team was able to maintain an unbeaten record in the West Indies, the first team to do so in the assortment of the island nation.

"To beat the West Indies in West Indies across all three formats, especially the limited over formats and Test matches, I think this must be unprecedented. A team going to the Caribbean and not losing a single game, I don't think it has happened in the past and it will not happen that easily in the near future," he added. 

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