Can Shastri Help India Regain Top Ranking Across Formats?
India have lost their number 1 test ranking to Australia and no longer hold the top position in any format. The recent update has India third in Tests and T20Is, and second in ODIs.
Head coach Ravi Shastri is a firm believer in the rankings; he has said on multiple occasions that India takes confidence from being the best test team in the world. Shastri has also urged the team to think and play like the number one test team in the world. To India’s credit, they held the number one test ranking for 42 consecutive months; the third longest streak in test cricket history.
Does Ravi Shastri Have A Plan?
Given the emphasis that Shastri placed on the number one test ranking, it is safe to say that India should look to not only regain the top spot from Australia but also have a plan in place to stay at the top. This begs the question; does Ravi Shastri have a robust plan in place to get India to the top. Or is he still in the process of coming up with one?
Virat Kohli has a strong working relationship with Shastri. But the results in the last 12 months are not as impressive as one would like. India did not make it to the finals of the 2019 ICC World Cup; they were also whitewashed in New Zealand earlier this year. They were under massive pressure in their home series against South Africa in March 2020 but COVID-19 happened.
While cricket fans have to wait patiently for cricketing action to resume, one wonders what Ravi Shastri and his team have been doing? Hopefully they have been working on a plan to help India get to the top of the test, ODI and T20 rankings.
What Plan Does India Have In Store?
Shastri’s track record in fixing holes in India’s strategy is not good. We see that from India’s failure in the 2019 ICC World Cup. The biggest problem was the middle-order which Shastri knew 2 years prior to the World Cup. He still could not fix on a number 4 and 5 and it cost India dearly during the World Cup.
The ICC T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in October in Australia. If COVID-19 is addressed successfully and things settle down, the World Cup should take place. But does Ravi Shastri have a strong plan to see India outplay the likes of Australia and England down under?
Shastri hasn’t shared much and one could put that down to India not revealing their plans ahead of the World Cup. However, what we have seen in recent times is alarming because it feels like Shastri is not in control of things and is happy to go along with the flow.
When India decided to concentrate on their T20 game at the start of this year, fans welcomed the plan. They felt that India needed to up their game if they wanted to pose a serious challenge for the T20 World Cup. India upped their game in the T20 format but their performance in test cricket diminished as we saw in the New Zealand series.
Ravi Shastri can no longer play it off as a bad day or one team loses and another team wins. This time around he has to take more responsibility and lay out a clear plan for India to be more dominant in all three formats of the game. He can take a leaf out of Australian coach Justin Langer’s book!