Shastri Advises His Team to Have Belief in Oneself and Play Ugly Cricket

Two days before the match Ravi Shastri came into the press conference in a way that one might think his team is 2-0 up and not 0-2 down.

Cricket news: He also kept Rishabh Pant’s possibility of playing under wraps and remained mysterious

The England coach Trevor Bayliss came just half an hour ago and cut a sorry figure when asked about Ben Stokes’ return to the team. Shastri’s comments on his team’s performances were clichés as he was in his blustering best.

When your team is 0-2 down, a coach would say the exact same thing what Shastri said. “Just believe in yourself. You have been in this position couple of times before and you have responded. One thing for sure in this unit, there is no negative bone. Okay… inspite of what happened in the last Test match, conditions favoured England and that is no excuse whatsoever, it can happen to any side. We are here without a negative bone, wanting to play to win, as simple as that.”

The team needs belief to succeed. Kohli has already shown that Indian batsmen can succeed here. Vijay has the game while Pujara and Rahane needs to mount on their defence. Apart from belief, Shastri also wants his team to play ugly cricket.

“Conditions have been tough as you have seen right through this series. But that’s where character comes into play and discipline comes into play, the resolve to know where your off stump is, leave a lot of balls, be prepared to look ugly and dirty and show some grit,” he said.

Shastri also opened up on the team selection at the Lord’s Test and said that it was a grave mistake. R Ashwin and Kuldeep was selected as two spinners and pacer Umesh Yadav was rested. It proved fatal in overcast conditions as both the spinners did not have much impact in the match.

“In hindsight, it was an error. We should have gone, seeing the conditions, with an extra seamer. It might have helped. Then again, you didn’t know how much it would rain, whether a match could go into the final day where just in case spinner is needed and the ball starts to turn, would we have needed him. But in hindsight the way things panned out, the amount it rained, the time we lost, a seamer could have been a better option.”

India would look to change their lineup again for the do-or-die game in the Trent Bridge Test. Rishabh Pant was seen batting for some time in the nets and also kept wickets to the spinners while Dinesh Karthik wiled outside.

Jasprit Bumrah was seen bowling with a small bandage on his left hand and took some high catches which suggested he is close to return to the playing XI.

Shastri however did not reveal about the playing XI but he said that captain Virat Kohli will play as he is feeling much better now. The Indian skipper was suffering from a lower back injury during the Lord’s Test and had to be treated in middle of the match.

“About Rishabh you will know 11 AM day after. Kohli… he is feeling much better. You saw him in the nets, he is moving much better and improving by the day,” he said.

India would hope that they bank on their inner confidence and win the Test which begins from Saturday as that would be needed to bring them back to the five-match Test series.