It was cloudy, windy and the air had a bit of a chill as Team India made their way to The Gabba for their first training session ahead of the 1st T20I against Australia. The team went through its regular drills, the bowlers bowled full tilt and the batsmen spent long hours in the nets to get into the mix of things.
Head Coach Ravi Shastri was keeping a close watch on the proceedings, getting back with some valuable feedback whenever need be – to batsmen and bowlers likewise.
“If you look at those Test matches, the scoreline doesn’t’ tell you the real story. There were some very tight Test matches,” Shastri said. “We lost some big moments badly which cost us the series at the end of it. It could have been just an hour in a session over four days, which made all the difference whether it was South Africa or England. You got to learn from that as a batsman or a bowler and see what happens after that. We have to cease the big moments. If they learn from some of the mistakes they made in the earlier tour, it should stand them in good stead here.”
When asked if this was a make or break tour for India, Shastri said, “Not really. The team has done well and you got to learn from your mistakes. The endeavour is to get better when you go overseas and when you look at teams that travel now, there aren’t too many sides that has done well overseas. Australia did for a while in the 90s, turn of the century. South Africa did it for a while but other than them, in the last five or six years you tell me which team has travelled well? Why pick on India?”
He also believed that this team and Captain Virat Kohli are a lot more mature from the last time they toured Australia. “The nucleus of the team is pretty much the same. So if you look at experience-wise, they have gained from touring a lot over the last four years.
“Virat loves coming to Australia and he is passionate about his game. The pitches here suit his style of play. Once you have done well in this part of the world you always want to come out and play well again. He is a professional. He has matured. He has played all round the globe and has captained the side. That alone comes with a tag of responsibility, which has fit well on his shoulders. He has adjusted extremely well but he will not take his foot off the gas, that is for sure.”
When asked if Australia were a less force to reckon with missing out on some big names in the line-up, the coach begged to differ. “I have always believed no team is weak at home. We might have three or four players not playing when a team comes to India, but God forbid if anyone says it is a weak Indian team because you will be surprised. So similarly, we are taking no prisoners. We want to go out and put our best foot forward and focus on our game rather than what’s happening outside.”