Ajinkya Rahane (Image courtesy: AFP)
Ajinkya Rahane (Image courtesy: AFP)

India head coach Ravi Shastri has called for his batsmen to do the dirty job and prepare to stay put in the coming Test matches to turn the tables on England. “The conditions have been tough as you’ve seen right through this series. The batsmen need to be prepared to look ugly and dirty and to show some grit,” the head coach said.

Asked about the repeated failures of Ajinkya Rahane he said, “I don’t think it is fair to single out one player. Batsmen from both teams have struggled when the occasion demanded, right? It is a case of mind over matter, how you prepare and mental discipline will remain key as we go into the test. He is one of our pillars and he remains one of our pillars.”

“We focus on cricket, we like to play against top cricketers. If he is cleared by the court, what is the reason to not have him play in the third Test. If I was in the English camp, I would have played him,” Shastri said when asked about the prospects of England player Ben Stokes.

On the inclusion of young wicketkeeper-batsman, Rishabh Pant, in the squad the head coach smartly avoided the googly by retorting, ” about Rishabh, you’ll know at 11 o’clock the day after.”

“As for Virat Kohli, he is feeling much better and is improving by the day. I’d say to the team that just believe in yourself. You’ve been in this position before but you have to bounce back. One thing is for sure there is no negative bone in this unit and we’re here to play and win. This team is not worried about who we are playing against. If it comes to giving back, we are prepared to give back in the vocabulary we know best,” Shastri said on the spirit of the present lot.

Shastri admitted that it was an error not to include a third seamer in the Lord’s Test. “In hindsight, it was an error. Looking at the conditions, we should have gone with a third seamer. We didn’t know how much it would rain. Whether the match would go into the final day, whether just in case a spinner would have been required. But yeah in hindsight, a third seamer would have helped.”

On the sad demise of former India captain Ajit Wadekar, Shastri said, “My condolences go out to his entire family on behalf of the whole Indian team. I knew Ajit from a very young age, he lived in the same building as me. He was one of the finest captains of India, a great cricketing mind and a fine player-manager.”