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Shastri ready with blueprint for India’s world cup race

The Team Director has started giving specific inputs to all the players including captain M.S. Dhoni and Virat Kohli.

Saji Chacko  New Delhi | 25th Oct 2014

Ravi Shastri talks to Shikhar Dhawan during a practice session in Dharamshala last week. PTI

n a clear sign that he will be the boss of Indian cricket till the 2015 World Cup, Team Director, Ravi Shastri has prepared a blueprint for Team India in the forthcoming World Cup. In his new role, Shastri has started giving specific inputs to all the players including captain M.S. Dhoni and Virat Kohli and has identified a core group of players for the World Cup to be jointly held in Australia and New Zealand. In fact, the veteran cricketer has come up with a clear cut six point agenda for World Cup. "The first and foremost of this point is to instill confidence in the players. For he (Shastri) believes that unless players are confident they can›t give their best at the World Cup. So Shastri›s emphasis is on boosting the players morale," said a BCCI official.

The second point is that non performing players have no place in the Indian team. They can be greats but if they don't perform they have no role to play in the team, "He has made it very clear that there is no place for stars who don't perform. His emphasis is on youth and wants each player to play his part in the team. For him icons who don't perform are simply not part of India's campaign for the 2015 World Cup," the official said.

Another interesting aspect of Shastri's role is that he has ensured that Virat Kohli bats down the order. "The decision to make Virat Kohli bat lower down is Ravi Shastri's. But then this is not a final decision. It all depends on what scores Virat comes up with in the coming matches," said the official.

Suresh Raina also has a crucial role to play in Ravi Shastri's scheme of things. "Suresh has a big role to play for India in the World Cup. Shastri would like to see him become the sheet anchor more often. Raina has played the role of a finisher, but in Shastri's point of view he feels that Raina has also got to play the role of a stabiliser. "

A former India player who is close to Shastri said that all the Team India players were happy with the way the Mumbaikar was handling them. "All the players are happy that they have someone whom they can share their problems freely with. Unlike some coaches, Ravi having himself played at the highest level, has vital inputs and useful suggestions to offer," he added.

Another reason why the players listen to Shastri is that he commands respect since he was a reputed player himself. "I am sure the players take his advice seriously as he himself has played the game at the highest level. That is the main reason why players consult him on their technical shortcomings," said the official.

But then if Ravi Shastri is playing such a pro active role in helping Team India prepare for the World Cup, then what is the role of Duncan Fletcher? Is it all over for the Zimbabwean?

No is the answer. "He (Fletcher) will continue as the chief coach till the World Cup. There is no question of him not continuing. He will be working in close co-ordination with Shastri and will be working out with the Indian team . There is also no doubt that Shastri is the more active of the two ,"said the BCCI official.

It is also understood that the other support staff of Team India - Sanjay Bangar, B Arun and R Sridhar – will have their hands full in the coming weeks.

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