Only the fit will survive- Ravi Shastri

In an exclusive chat with TOI, Shastri talks about the road map ahead, his chemistry with the cricketers and his role going forward. Excerpts…

This was a first: A series sweep away from home. It should instil a good deal of aggression and positivity.

When was the last time that Sri Lanka were beaten like this at home? I’d like to wait and see how some other teams will cope against this same Sri Lankan team in the near future. But then, this is not about Sri Lanka, this is about the Indian team and the manner in which they’ve stamped their authority here. India’s lowest score in this series (487) was still a 100-odd runs more than the best that Sri Lanka could manage throughout the three Tests. So, that should sum-up the total dominance, with the bat and ball.

What are the takeaways for the team after a performance like this?

Even if this team ends up losing a game, as long as they can walk out of the field with their heads held high, knowing that they gave their best, there’s no problem whatsoever. A disciplined approach is what counts. For instance, look at this series. Barring the two no-balls in the second Test from Hardik [Pandya] and one in the third game from [Mohammad] Shami, we’ve not faltered. How many catches did we drop throughout this series? Two? Going forward, that is what we need to avoid. It’s the effort that counts and in that, if we have to look at the bigger picture, we’re taking away more than what the scorecard will convey.

The bowling unit has been coming together splendidly…

Bharath Arun has known these youngsters for such a long time now. Look at Kuldeep [Yadav], for instance. He’s been tracking Kuldeep’s growth from the Under-16 days. It’s the same with some of the others he’s worked with for a while now. So, in that sense, there’s a sense of familiarity that’s also helping. We’ve always seen Kuldeep as a guy with great potential but let’s not go on harping about it. One step at a time. Not just the Test team, even [in] the ODIs, now that we have the likes of Jasprit [Bumrah] and Axar [Patel] coming in, they’ve all worked with Arun and I am keen to see things moving forward from here.

Hardik made a huge impression in the series…

Hardik may still be new to Test cricket but he’s showing what a quick learner he is. As Virat [Kohli] said, he’s been the biggest positive of this series. He was working on the cutters for the first time on the morning of the day’s play with Arun and he didn’t flinch once in going out and testing it the same day. That kind of confidence is what you need at this level.

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