Ravi Shastri on India's tour of South Africa: We are prepared for fast tracks
India's head coach Ravi Shastri confident of his batsmen's ability to cope in South Africa
India will tour South Africa early next year. Would you like to consult South Africans like Fanie De Villiers, Graeme Pollock, Jonty Rhodes and Allan Donald after you land there?
Frankly speaking, we have not started planning for the South Africa tour in detail. At the moment, we are concentrating on the ongoing Sri Lanka series.
What kind of wickets do you expect in South Africa?
We have to play on fiery wickets, which will have pace and bounce.
Is it a relief that there will be no Test match at Kingsmead, Durban which is the fastest wicket in South Africa?
We are ready to play on fast wickets. Our challenge will be to handle the pace. Obviously, pace and bounce will differ a little bit from one ground to another. We are prepared to play on bouncy wickets. We will be ready for that. I am confident that our team will do well on fast tracks on the tour of South Africa.
You too have played on fast tracks. Which one was the quickest?
Of course, Perth will be on top of that list, then Jamaica and Barbados in the early 1980s and 1990s.
Did you expect the kind of fight Sri Lanka displayed in the first Test at Kolkata?
Let's not forget that Sri Lanka have won against Pakistan in UAE. No team could beat Pakistan in UAE in the last 14 years which means the Sri Lanka team toured UAE with proper preparation and they are trying to showcase the same in India.
Why was Suranga Lakmal so dangerous at Eden Gardens?
Very simple - the conditions were ideal for swing/seam bowling and Lakmal used those conditions very intelligently. Had we got the opportunity to bowl first, our pacers would have been dangerous as well. You must have seen that our bowlers became really dangerous even on the fifth day.
What's your take on veteran Rangana Herath?
A terrific cricketer! He started beautifully in the first innings at Eden Gardens. He has been the best left-arm spinner in the world for quite a few years. He has single-handedly won many matches for Sri Lanka - a dedicated and fascinating cricketer!
Don't you think Sri Lanka's batting strength has decreased?
I do agree that, after Aravinda de Silva, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara's retirement, Sri Lankan batting is not the same. But I think they will reorganise themselves in the near future and become a formidable side.
The Indian batsmen are facing difficulties on seaming tracks. How will they improve?
Very simple - we have to play more matches on seaming tracks. We used to play on batting-friendly wickets. Now we have to bat on tracks where there is some grass and bounce.
We have noticed that a few Indian batsmen are getting bowled through the gap between bat and pad...
I repeat, the more we play on seaming tracks, the more we will get used to those conditions. Here is where the errors will be erased.
Would you say that Bhuvneshwar Kumar is India's most improved cricketer?
Bhuvi has worked really hard. He spends hours and hours in the gym, gaining strength and has practised for hours in the nets. He's a very intelligent cricketer. The moment he realised how to improve as a cricketer, he immediately started spending more time to develop his skills.
What about Ajinkya Rahane? He has not performed as per his potential this year...
He will be alright soon.
Should Jasprit Bumrah be tried in Test matches?
It is entirely up to the selectors.
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