Shastri believes that the future of Indian cricket still remains bright
Former India player Ravi Shastri has announced that the nation’s current Test captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, needs to significantly improve his batting in the longer form of the game.
However, in terms of Dhoni’s captaincy, Shastri noted that he was doing a fairly good job.
“There is room for improvement as a Test batsman, But as a Test captain, he has been made to struggle because of the inability of bowlers to take 20 wickets on foreign pitches. It has influenced the decisions on field placements and tactics. He will get better as a Test captain in time to come,” Shastri said during an interview.
Shastri, who is currently 50, also stated that he does not believe Twenty20 cricket has had a negative impact on Test cricket and the way the players play in the long format.
“I feel Test cricket would survive because of Twenty20 cricket. Twenty20 is bringing more people to the ground, more people to play and more people to spend time in front of television. The game would have shrunk to four or five countries in coming decades but for the passion which T20 has ignited,” he said.
But, Shastri does have some concerns with the growing popularity of the shorter form, stating that spinners were not developing their game enough and that pace bowlers look to bowl on a consistent line and length rather than get quick wickets.
“Young spinners are looking to bowl flatter and contain rather than take wickets. The basis of spin bowling is flight and the ability to turn the ball and deceive the batsman in flight, a genuine fast bowler must look to bowl quick in whatever format he plays. He must do whatever it takes to retain the fitness and that mental edge. If it means cutting down on his engagements, so be it. The stress should be on quality, not quantity,” he added.
When asked about the Indian Premier League (IPL), Shastri noted that he would have loved to play in the tournament if it were available during his career.
“The buzz and entertainment, on and off the field, would have been right up my street. An odd after-match party would have added to the thrill. I emphasise on odd. Ha ha,” he said.
Shastri, was also asked about the future of Indian cricket, and stated that the younger players must be backed up and play their natural game, but at the same time, they should also be good enough to replace the senior players in the team.
“Virat (Kohli) has been outstanding in seizing his chances. Rohit too needs an extended run in international cricket. He needs to get all the opportunity. Time has come to back youth and invest in them. But they must be good enough to replace the seniors. Age alone shouldn’t determine a career,” he said.
With Shastri now a respected commentator during matches, he admitted that he would still love to be playing, but commentating was still a good job as well.
“It’s been a thrilling life. Nothing beats like playing the game on the field but doing commentary requires extreme focus. It’s more of a mental than a physical demand. I have been able to catch up with most as a commentator. Strong adversaries such as Micheal Holding, Wasim Akram and Ian Botham are now closer than ever. Working with the likes of a (Ian) Chappell, (Richie) Benaud and (Tony) Greig has been a riveting experience. It’s been a heck of a journey. It has given me the exposure to travel the world. It has kept the mind and body healthy,” he said.