Melbourne: Buoyed by India’s big win in their World Cup opening clash against arch-rivals Pakistan last week, Team Director Ravi Shastri said Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men are targeting an emphatic win in another big clash today when they take on South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Team Director Ravi Shastri (centre) talks to coach Duncan Fletcher, skipper MS Dhoni (left) and vice-captain Virat Kohli during a practice session in Melbourne on Friday. Pic/Suman Chattopadhyay
When asked about Team India’s strategy against Proteas, Shastri told mid-day: “We will go to the ground and aim for a win. The more you win, the more confidence you acquire.
“We have spoken a lot (about strategy) and now is the time to keep quiet and deliver.”
Shastri was surprised by the way Pakistan capitulated in the opening clash. “No, I did not expect us to beat Pakistan so convincingly (India won by 76 runs). We started playing against Pakistan with controlled aggression from the beginning.
Surprised by Pak’s show
“There was no need to take our attack to the fifth gear. Pakistan lost before that. It is true we were not playing good cricket before that, but everyone contributed in the Pakistan match,” said the former India skipper.
Shastri was also delighted to see the bowling click. “Our combination has clicked. All our plans were correct and that is the reason why the win looked so easy. If our bowling department does well consistently, we will win more matches.
“We had to take few decisions for the Pakistan match like the role of Virat Kohli as the No 3 batsman. We wanted him to hold the innings. It clicked. The left hand-right hand batting combination also worked. Shikhar Dhawan batted really well... it was like a cherry on the cake. Suresh Raina batted beautifully at No 4. He has been given a specific role. Actually, all our plans clicked,” he said.
The forever-optimistic Shastri said the he was confident of India’s turnaround despite their poor showing Down Under in the Test and tri-series before the World Cup. “This is the time when the team needs to fight, stay together and gradually the team is entering into the mould for South Africa match. They are absolutely charged up,” he said.