India head coach Ravi Shastri believes that the team needs to look at the T20 format from a ‘fresh perspective’ ahead of the World Cups in 2020 and 2021.
Shastri was on Friday retained as the India coach on a new two-year contract which runs until the 2021 T20 World Cup and the former all-rounder has outlined his targets for the team.
“There are two ICC T20 tournaments over the next two years, in 2020 and 2021,” Shastri told the Times of India in an interview.
“The Test championship cycle has begun, so that becomes top priority. We have a splendid Test side that’s stayed at the top of the rankings and needs to keep up that good work.
“In T20Is, we need to take a fresh perspective and consolidate on the fabulous talent we have.”
The India coach has called for a new approach in the T20 format for the Men in Blue and feels that the make-up of that squad could be vastly different from the current ODI setup.
“One-day cricket and T20s have vastly different identities and one cannot look at it through the mere lens of ‘white-ball cricket’,” said Shastri.
“T20 is a wholly different ballgame and that is how we are going to pursue it. At best four or maximum five cricketers from the present 50-over setup fit in a T20 perspective right now.
“We need to begin with that perspective and build on it.”
The 57-year-old is encouraged by the bench strength India has built over the past one year or so and believes plenty of more youngsters will be given a shot in the run up to the two T20 World Cups.
“Bench strength is everything if we’re looking at things from a long-term perspective. That constant flow of fresh, young talent has to be there. Be it Rishabh (Pant) or Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep (Yadav), Hardik (Pandya), Mayank Agarwal, Vijay Shankar – they’re there, constantly raising their hands up,” Shastri stated.
“That kind of a pool does wonders when the only objective is to ensure you don’t end up with, let’s say, any kind of deadwood.
“The same will happen as we go about building our T20 perspective. There’s quite a bit of a talent pool out there that needs constant tapping.”
Shastri is currently with the Indian team on their ongoing tour of the West Indies. Having prevailed in both the T20 and ODI clashes, India will now lock horns with the hosts in a two-match Test series beginning at Antigua on Thursday.
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