India vs New Zealand: Ahead of Test series, Ravi Shastri outlines clear ‘objectives’ for Team India
Team India is grappling with injuries and this complicates things for them ahead of the first Test as far as selecting the playing XI is concerned.
Ahead of the Test series, Team India head coach Ravi Shastri has laid the marker for his side and has identified what the side would aim to achieve in the two matches against New Zealand. Ranked the number 1 Test side in the world, India have won all their games in the ICC World Test Championship so far – they beat West Indies in the 2-match Test series and then clinched five matches against South Africa and Bangladesh at home. New Zealand, in their home conditions, will be India’s biggest challenge and Shastri says he wants his side to play like the number 1 Test side in the world and take a step closer to the final of the world Test championship.
“We need 100 points to be in contention to play at Lord’s,” Shastri was quoted as saying by The Times of India. “Two overseas wins out of six Tests will keep us in good stead. We play six Tests overseas this year [two in New Zealand, followed by four in Australia later in the year], so that’s one objective.
“The other is to play like the world’s No. 1 Test team, because that’s what this team believes in more than anything else. On the Test front, that’s what we’re looking at.”
India’s ruthlessness in Tests is primarily because of the consistency in selection and in players understanding their roles and stepping up to perform. However, the side is grappling with injuries and this complicates things for them ahead of the first Test.
This challenge is not lost on Shastri, but as per him, this presents the other players in the squad with a great opportunity to make their presence felt. Rohit Sharma has been ruled out of the series and this gives a chance to Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw to give an account of their pedigree.
“Both are supremely exciting talents,” Shastri said. “Regardless of who gets into the XI in Wellington, the fact of the matter is they’re here, part of India’s national squad, and from here on they should know that the sky remains the limit.
“He [Gill] is phenomenally talented. His approach to batting is very clear and he exhibits a very positive mindset. That’s very exciting for a boy who’s just 20 going on 21.”