Former India coach Ravi Shastri, on Tuesday, said that India must continue with their ultra-aggressive approach with the bat in T20 cricket and stated that the returning Virat Kohli will now be a lot calmer, more assured, and one with no baggage.
Kohli, who is approaching his 100th T20I, was also backed by Shastri to end his lean patch of form in the upcoming Asia Cup.
“He will come back with a calmer mind because the heat is off. You have been away. Now, what you do will get the tone. He gets a fifty in the very first game, mouths will be shut for the rest of the tournament. What’s happened in the past is history. Remember, public memory is very short. So it works both ways. His opportunity here is to get that calmness and then take it one day at a time,” Shastri said on Star Sports.
Analysis Team India’s approach which has been dubbed as cautious and a tad bit slow, Shastri said, “They should not change the approach (they have shown of late). Even when I was a coach we discussed we were a bit timid at the top considering the players we had down the order.
“It is the right approach. You will lose a few games in between but if you start winning with this approach you can take that confidence in big games and use the same tactics,” said Shastri.
While Kohli is coming back into the playing eleven after a well-deserved rest, another senior batsman K L Rahul is returning after an injury layoff. According to Shastri, the two batters can show the same aggression as the younger lot. “Why not? They are very experienced players,” said Shastri before adding, “They have played enough IPL and T20s and it should not be tough for them to adjust. With Rishabh, Hardik, Jadeja there is enough depth in the middle and lower order to get the innings back on track if the top order falls cheaply.”
Former Pakistan great Wasim Akram, who was also present in the freewheeling chat on Star Sports, spoke about Kohli being one of the all-time greats, and comparisons with Babar Azam are still a bit premature.
“The criticism from Indian fans against Kohli has been unnecessary. He is one of the greatest of all time, not just in this era. He still fit as a fiddle. He is still one of the best fielders in the Indian squad.
“As they say class is forever and that is Virat Kohli. Hope he doesn’t come back to form against Pakistan but he will come back eventually,” said Akram.
“Babar has been very consistent because he has got the right technique. He is very hungry and very fit. He is still a young captain but is learning very fast. However, comparisons with Virat it is too early.
“Babar is on the right track to be where Virat Kohli is but to compare him with him at this stage is too early. But he is absolutely on the right track to be one of the modern greats,” said Akram.
Meanwhile, Shastri also spoke about the workload management of Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah and opined that they need to be monitored carefully.
“He is one of the most important cogs in India’s wheel. You take him out, and the balance goes awry. We missed him last year at the World Cup where he could not bowl. No one is close to the quality that he possesses,” Shastri said.
“He has to be watched very closely. With the games coming up (before the T20 World cup), Bumrah and Hardik need to be observed very carefully to ensure there is no breakdown. They are your two important players,” he concluded.