England prevailed in the fourth Test at Southampton by 60 runs with India and the hosts neck and neck for much of the match. Shastri said the series scoreline could easily have been different had India grabbed their opportunities in the first Test in Birmingham (which India lost by 31 runs) or the fourth.
“The scoreline says 3-1 which means India have lost. What the scoreline doesn’t say that India could have been 3-1 or it could have been 2-2,” Shastri said on Wednesday.
“And the team knows it. They would have hurt and rightly so after the last game. But this is a team that will not throw in the towel. It will come out there and look to compete.”
India had a golden opportunity to win a series in South Africa earlier in the year but they squandered winning moments to lose 2-1. In England, India failed to drive home the advantage in the first and fourth Tests. Captain Virat Kohli said inability to cross the finish line is hurting the team and the coach concurred.
“We have run teams close overseas and we have competed. But now it’s not about competing. We have to win games,” Shastri said. “The endeavour is to understand where you made the mistakes and try to correct it. Fact is you had a chance.”
However, the former India opener said his team remains one of the most competitive team produced by his country in Test cricket and the series defeat does not change his belief.
“As far as crossing the line goes, you have to give credit to Moeen Ali there on the last day (in Southampton). He bowled magnificently. As hard as our guys tried, England were one-up on us there.
“If you look at the last three years, we have won nine matches overseas. I can’t see any other Indian team in the last 15-20 years that has had the same run in such a short time, and you have had some great players playing in those series. So the promise is there, it is just about getting tougher mentally.”
Former India left-arm fast bowler RP Singh on Tuesday announced his retirement from cricket. The 32-year-old announced his decision on Twitter.
“13 years ago today, on 4th September 2005 was the first time I donned the Indian jersey. It was the stepping-stone to what would become the most cherished moments of my life,” Singh wrote a statement he posted on Twitter.
“Today as I hang my boots and call it a day, I wish to remember and give thanks to each and everyone who made this journey possible.
“For someone born in a small village, I never thought I would be able to say this – I have lived my dream. And for that I have nobody else to thank but you. My fans. For believing in me, for criticising me and for hailing me but mainly for just being there for me. Thank you,” Singh said.
Singh formed a formidable pace pairing with fellow left-armer Zaheer Khan in the late 2000s. He was one of the star performers for India in their victorious 2007 World T20 campaign. He also played a critical role in the 2007 Test series triumph in England and in India’s Test win over Australia in the acrimonious 2008 Perth Test.
In all, Singh picked up 40 Test wickets from 14 matches, 69 scalps from 58 ODIs and 15 wickets from 10 T20s.
India will host the West Indies for two Tests, five ODIs and three Twenty20s in October-November, the BCCI said on Tuesday.
The Test series will begin on October 4 in the western city of Rajkot followed by the second and final Test in Hyderabad from October 12 to 16. It means there will be a gap of barely one week between the final of the Asia Cup in the UAE at the end of the month and the first Test, should India reach the final.
The five ODIs will be played in Guwahati (October 21), Indore (October 24), Pune (October 27), Mumbai (October 29) and Thiruvananthapuram (November 1).
The cities of Kolkata (November 4), Lucknow (November 6) and Chennai (November 11) will host T20 matches.
The West Indies had pulled out of their previous tour of India in 2014 because of a pay dispute with their board.
The Dwayne Bravo-led side went back after playing four ODIs. They were scheduled to play one more one-dayer, a one-off T20 and three Tests on that tour.