New Delhi: Team India's director of cricket, Ravi Shastri gave pep talk in the hope of instilling confidence in the squad before leaving for the demanding tour of Australia on Friday.
One of the thinking man and of course surely a old fox in the game of pep talk, Shastri said that the young Indian team should prepare to gut out the challenge Down Under. Once it's been done, there is no reason the team can't perform there, in the alien conditions – as everybody else was talking about ahead of the tour. He also hailed the team as a bunch of good competitors.
“If you are prepared to guts it out, then there is no reason why you can't perform. They are good competitors but we can show them that even we are good competitors. This bunch has it,” he said.
But, the former Indian captain have had few words of caution and friendly advice too. He urged the team to enjoy the trip and not to be intimidated by their hosts. Besides, the well-traveled former commentator also urged the tourists to explore the beauty of a captivating country like Australia. According to him, getting mind off cricket when it is not required can be helpful and one way to do is to visit places, relax and explore new hobbies.
"I think it's very important that when you have a long tour, you have the ability to switch off... You don't have to be thinking overtime. You need to focus on what you have to do but when you are not playing, you switch off. You have got to have a way of relaxing, you have got to have hobbies. Australia is a great county, there are enough places to go to, get your mind off cricket," the 52-year-old advised.
It was a heartening and indeed a motivating part in the build up to one of most eagerly awaited tours of this hugely talented Indian team. Irrespective their debacle in England, Shastri believes that this bunch of boys can excel and prove doubters wrong. And he was there for them.
Some twenty-years ago, he himself was a part of long and arduous tour Down Under – involving a Test series, a tri-series and then Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
After his elevation to the post of director of cricket during the English tour, Shastri has boosted the team morale and helped India blanked Sri Lanka in the recent five-match One-Day International series at home.
In the absence of an unfit Mahendra Singh Dhoni, batting sensation Virat Kohli lead the team in the first Test match, starting December 4 at Brisbane. India will play a four-match Test series with Australia, which will be followed by a ODI Tri-series involving England before the teams settle for the 2015 ICC World Cup.
India are the defending champions of the traditional world cup, having won it at home four years back beating Sri Lanka in the final at Mumbai, which was made memorable by MS Dhoni's winning six and that victory lap with soon to be retired Sachin Tendulkar.
With agency inputs