Ravi Shastri was dismissive of all the flak the Indian team has copped and took a dig at critics for “firing blanks while sitting million miles away”.
India were humbled by Australia in the second Test in Perth by 146 runs, prompting the likes of legendary Sunil Gavaskar to question the team management’s selection policies and demanding more accountability from captain Virat Kohli and the head coach.
Shastri didn’t take any names but in his inimitable style rubbished all criticism, making it evident that he has not taken it too well.
“When you are millions of miles away, it is very easy to fire blanks. Their comments are too far away and we are in the Southern hemisphere. We have to do what’s best for the team, as simple as that,” the India head coach fired a counter salvo at all the ex-cricketers, who haven’t had exactly charitable comments about the team.
There was no surprises when Shastri backed skipper Virat Kohli, whose on-field behaviour has been questioned by the Australian experts.
“He was fantastic. What is wrong with his behaviour? Of course, you can question but as far as we are concerned, he is an absolute gentleman,” said Shastri.
Shastri however admitted that top-order has been an issue for the team with both KL Rahul and Murali Vijay failing in four successive innings in the two Tests.
He did gave indication that team management is seriously looking at Mayank Agarwal as an option.
When asked if India have lost any momentum in Perth, Shastri said that the team are in a unique position at 1-1 in the series, one they didn’t experience in South Africa or England.
“We have not lost any morale in Perth. We knew we had our chances there in Perth as well, so we are ready. We are at 1-1 in a Test series in Australia.”
“Very rarely have we been in a position (this year) where we are 1-1, and it is not often for a team, when they travel overseas, that they are placed 1-1 with two Tests to go. So the boys know what they can do and what they are capable of. The potential lies ahead. We will be third time lucky (after South Africa and England),” Shastri signed off.