Invoking the star cricketer as a “package,” former India head coach Ravi Shastri predicts that one man’s performance will determine India’s future.
The much awaited Border-Gavaskar Series will begin in Nagpur in two days, and Team India will be looking to win the series handily in order to secure their place in the World Test Championship final. Three of India’s main Test players, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, and Shreyas Iyer (for just one match), will be absent, Ravi Shastri, a former India head coach, has praised the star cricketer as a “package,” but he also thinks that India’s fate would depend on one man’s performance.
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India will be hosting the Border-Gavaskar series for the first time since the 2017 competition and is hoping to win the trophy for the fourth time in a row. Under Shastri’s leadership, India won back-to-back Test series in Australia. Shastri believes Ravichandran Ashwin’s performance will be crucial in determining India’s fate in the series.
“Ashwin, you don’t want him to over-plan. He is good enough to stick to his plans as he is real crucial player here. His form might decide the series. Ashwin comes as a package, he will get you important runs as well,” Shastri said.
“If Ashwin is on fire, that might decide the outcome of the series. He is world class in most conditions but in Indian conditions, he is lethal. If the ball starts spinning and there is enough bite off the surface, he will trouble most batters. So, you don’t want Ashwin to over-think and try too many things. Just keep it there and let the pitch do the rest because as it is, it does enough in India,” he added.
Shastri also offered his opinion on the hotly contested third-spinner issue. In the race for the job, he chose Kuldeep Yadav over Axar Patel.
“In terms of the third spinner, I want to see Kuldeep start right away. Axar and Jadeja are quite comparable bowlers. Kuldeep is unique. You need someone who won’t give up if you lose the toss on Day 1. Kuldeep will spin it on Day 1 if anyone does. Kuldeep can be used if the track doesn’t have much to offer “He said.