Shastri expects India to go from strength to strength

Andrew Cummings
August 2, 2017

When KL Rahul last came to Sri Lanka, he was a century or nothing batsman, hitting 7, 5, 108, 2, 2 and 2 across his six innings here in 2015.

Colombo: Newly-appointed Test captain Dinesh Chandimal will return for the second cricket Test against India starting at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground here from Thursday, Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed on Tuesday. The Indian opener nicknamed Gabbar was en route to Australia to spend some time with his family before training for the ODI series between India and Sri Lanka after being omitted from the Test squad.

Set a daunting 550 to win, Sri Lanka, which showed glimpses of a fight, was bowled out for 245. "He is good, we are watching him closely", said the Indian head coach. He went through some tough times and he was in the hospital for 2-3 days. "One of the openers will have to make way for him".

Shastri took over the job of coaching the Indian side on 11 July 2017 after Anil Kumble chose to step down from the role of the head coach.

Ahead of the presentation ceremony, Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Uncle Percey were seen having a candid moment and had a long chat followed by a lot of laughter. "That is fearless and positive".

When asked how exactly he does that, Shastri shot back: "That is a skill, that is why I am here and you are not there".

"This team is used to doing things which other Indian teams haven't done, overseas. Like, for example, winning a series here for over 20 years". In South Africa where they played their first series in 1992-93 India have lost every series save one which they drew. But they have done that. The burden of captaincy seems to have impacted Herath's performance in the first Test.

The team's other regular opener, Murali Vijay, too pulled out of the series at the last minute saying he had not fully recovered from a wrist injury. Forget Australia, I'm not even touching Australia.

"What he's done in the past two years for us has been very solid, and he deserves to come back and start fresh in Test cricket again". In a country that has been notoriously unkind to openers, India have enough faith in Rahul to restore him to the XI, despite having other good options. I for one believe they can. "It has been hard for him and we all known that", the captain added further.

"When you have been around the game for 37 years, you probably learnt a little bit". He would get up early, do the necessary work in the kitchen, including preparing tea and breakfast, and ensure that I did not get late for school. Nothing had changed and no special buttons I had to press.

But Arvind Pujara, a former first-class player, was not just methodical, he was obsessed with making sure his son would become a Test cricketer and left no stones unturned to make that happen.

"There have been ups and downs, but looking at the recent form, I will be looking forward to play in the 50th Test match and score some runs for the team", the 29-year-old Pujara said. We just want to improve as a batting unit.

It might be a happy headache to have on nearly all other days, but just ahead of a game selection issues are the biggest concerns.

Speaking on who is likely to miss out owing to Rahul's arrival, Kohli said, "I feel in a situation like this, you need to sit down and think which player has had more impact on the game". And at the helm of it all was skipper Virat Kohli. "He is still young".

He will be joined by batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, who last played an global Test in June 2016. You can see in the body language; he has matured, and he will continue to mature and learn.

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