MUMBAI: India’s current batting line-up is their best ever in cricket’s shortest format but the team must improve their fielding in Australia if they are to bring home a second T20 World Cup trophy, former coach Ravi Shastri has said.
India won the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2007 but failed to make the knockout rounds last year when Shastri, a former all-rounder, was in charge of the team.
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli make up the top three of India’s batting line-up with Suryakumar Yadav, ranked second in the world in the T20 format, Hardik Pandya and either Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik completing the middle order.
“I’ve been part of the system for the last seven years as coach and now watching it from outside, this is the strongest batting line-up India has had, if you look at youth, experience, at players peaking in this format of the game,” Shastri said at the Mumbai Press Club on Wednesday. “What India lacked in the last five-six years is the number four, five, six.
Now Surya coming at four, Hardik at five, Pant or Karthik at six, it makes a massive difference. It allows the top order to play in the manner they are playing. “Even if you are two down in the powerplay, you still have the ammunition at the back to consistently take on the bowlers, which wasn’t the case for some time.”
While Shastri was confident in their batting firepower he said India could not afford sloppiness in the field. “One area India will have to pick up and start right from the beginning is fielding,” said Shastri, who coached India from mid-2017 until last year’s T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
“Those 15-20 runs you save will make all the difference because otherwise every time you go out to bat, you will have to get those extra runs. “This is where other sides, Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa, they field like crazy. Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup on their fielding.”