Former India coach Ravi Shastri considers the group of batters his country has gathered for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be the “best he has ever seen”.
With Suryakumar Yadav’s recent rise and the reintroduction of veteran finisher Dinesh Karthik to the middle order, the India batting line-up appears more stable now, over a year after it was first announced.
Shastri believes that India’s batters can help the side reach the semi-finals this time around, despite the loss of crucial fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah to injury.
“I have been part of the system for the last 6-7 years, first as a coach and now I am watching from the outside, and I think this is as good a line-up as India has ever had in T20 cricket,” Shastri declared during an event at the Mumbai Press Club.
“With Surya (Yadav) at No 4, Hardik (Pandya) at No 5 and Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik at No 6 it makes a massive difference as it allows the top order to play the way they are playing.”
However, the cricketer-turned-commentator stressed that fielding needs to be improved in order to win matches.
“One area that India will have to pick up and start right from the beginning is fielding. They need to work hard and get their A-game on the field when they step out (in the first game) against Pakistan.
“Those 15-20 runs that you save can make all the difference because otherwise every time you get out to bat, you need to get 15-20 runs extra,” he further added.
On October 23, India plays its first T20 World Cup match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against arch-rivals Pakistan. Thereafter, they play South Africa in Perth, Bangladesh in Adelaide, and two first round losers.