India coach Ravi Shastri said that building bench strength so as to handle the upcoming transition phase will be key in his second term at the helm of affairs. With the T20 World Cup coming up and the ongoing World Test Championship, captain Virat Kohli has spoken of the importance of managing the players, especially the pacers, and their workload which means more good options will be needed that can fill spots in the absence of the first-choice players.
“The vision is to keep the consistency level going,” Shastri told Gulf News.
“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,” he said.
“You might get the odd game or the odd series in which you might lose in the quest of investing but that is what you have to do to earn success. If you have to build a good side and keep it in good space for another five years to go, you need to do it,” he added.
The former Indian captain said that getting youngsters ready for the 2020 World T20 and the run in the World Test Championship will be key. “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,” said Shastri.
“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,” he further stated.
Shastri also said that the upcoming Test series against South Africa — India’s second in the World Test Championship — will be a battle for pride.
“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,” he said. “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 for them to decide who plays in the final,” he concluded.