Coach Ravi Shastri on IND Vs NZ: Mentally-tuned and ready for it

Updated: Feb 29, 2020, 07:41 IST | Vimal Kumar | Christchurch

India may have to rejig their bowling plans for the second Test against NZ after Ishant Sharma experiences pain in the ankle, but coach Ravi Shastri says his team are...

Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri

First, the bad news. India's most successful bowler in the first Test at Wellington, Ishant Sharma is unlikely to play the second Test, starting here today.

India's most experienced pacer didn't bowl in the nets on Friday after experiencing pain on his right ankle. It was the same injury which he had suffered in January during a Ranji Trophy match.

Ishant, who is just three wickets away from achieving 300 Test scalps and also three away from playing 100 Tests, had showed no signs of uneasiness when he troubled the likes of Virat Kohli in the nets on Thursday. So, when head coach Ravi Shastri addressed the media on the eve of the second Test, no one had any clue of the injury to Ishant.

Cheteshwar Pujara rides an electric scooter as he leaves the training session on the eve of the second Test v New Zealand yesterday. Pic/PTI
Cheteshwar Pujara rides an electric scooter as he leaves the training session on the eve of the second Test v New Zealand yesterday. Pic/PTI 

There were usual queries on the poor show of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami in the first Test. "Bumrah is very close to getting a five-for or six-for. It might happen tomorrow [in the second Test]. Similarly with Shami, so nothing to worry about," said Shastri in his typical assertive style.

Umesh to play?
Umesh Yadav, who has a better home record than away, is tipped to replace Ishant if he is rendered unfit, while New Zealand are bolstered with the inclusion of Neil Wagner, who had missed the opening Test after the birth of his first child.

The surface at the Hagley Oval is expected to assist seamers a lot more than the pitch at the Basin Reserve. "You're not battling the wind. The overheads are there and it's generally a nice place to pitch the ball up and get it swinging around," explained Kiwi seamer Trent Boult.

Despite talk of assistance to seamers, India are expected to include one spinner. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja is all set to play in place of Ravichandran Ashwin, who claimed three wickets in Wellington. "He [Ashwin] has bowled well over the years and, if anything, he will be disappointed with the way he has batted. He would want to improve on his batting in time to come," said Shastri, providing enough hints of Jadeja making it to the playing XI.

Having squandered the opportunity to win a Test series in New Zealand after more than a decade, Shastri stressed there is no need to press the panic button.

'No need to panic'
"One loss… there is absolutely no need to panic, neither is anyone looking in that direction when you look at this team. They are ready. They know what to expect and they are mentally-tuned and ready. Now, it's the execution part," said Shastri.

After a 5-0 win in the T20I series against the Kiwis, the dramatic 0-3 loss in the ODIs was disappointing, but a 0-2 loss in the Test series could prompt a thorough post mortem.

Prithvi Shaw is fit and ready to go, confirms Shastri

Young opener Prithvi Shaw has recovered from a foot injury and is "ready to go" in the second and final Test against New Zealand starting here on Saturday, India head coach Ravi Shastri has said. Shaw missed Thursday's training session due to swelling on his left foot, increasing the Indian team management's worries ahead of the second Test. But the good news for India was that Shaw was back in the nets on Friday with an extensive session under the watchful eyes of Shastri and got some tips from skipper Virat Kohli. Shaw had a poor outing in the first Test in Wellington, getting dismissed cheaply in both the innings.

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