Head coach Ravi Shastri has put a positive spin to India‘s crushing defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the first Test in Wellington saying that the ‘shake-up’ will help them open up their mindset. Also Read - ICC World Test Championship Final: Indian Team May Leave Early Due to UK Travel Restrictions
India won their first seven matches of the ICC World Test Championship starting with the Caribbean tour in August last year. That run saw them occupying the top spot in the points table, building a commanding lead before the New Zealand defeat. Also Read - Ravi Shastri's Ability to Infuse Confidence in Youngsters is Unbelievable: Sunil Gavaskar
“I always believe when you are on a run like we were, a shake-up like that (first Test) is good because it opens your mindset,” Shastri said on Friday, a day ahead of the second Test. “When you are on the road winning all the time and you haven’t tasted defeat, you can have a closed or fixed mindset.” Also Read - Deepak Chahar Feels "Good" Answering "That Critic", Earns Praise From Team India Coach Ravi Shastri
India were skittled for 165 in their first innings and then fared a tad better in their second dig, scoring 191 with their batsmen struggling against the pace trio of Trent Boult, Tim Southee and debutant Kyle Jamieson.
Shastri said the defeat has helped India understand the strategy New Zealand have come up with making them better prepared for the second Test to be played in Christchurch. “…there are opportunities to learn. You know what strategies NZ are employing and now you are prepared, what to expect and you have your plans on how to counter that. It’s a good lesson and I am sure the boys are up for the challenge,” he said.
Shastri said one defeat shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
“…we played eight games (3 vs South Africa, 2 vs West Indies and 2 vs Bangladesh and 1 vs New Zealand) and won seven. For one loss, there is absolutely no need to panic. And neither is anyone looking in that direction in this team,” he said.
On the issue of why team’s usually struggle in away conditions, the former India allrounder said, “It’s the red ball. The conditions of red and white balls are completely different…touring a country playing white ball cricket, the red ball is totally different especially in England and New Zealand, where conditions can be pretty much similar. It’s any team, it will take a while to acclimatise. We are here not to give any excuses. We were outplayed in that first Test,” he said.
Shastri says for India, Test cricket and T20Is are more important in the current and the following year in light of the World Test championship and back-to-back world cups.
“I wouldn’t judge ODI and Test cricket as they are totally different things. For us, the least priority is ODI cricket at the moment. Because of the schedule and what’s coming up in the next two years. Our focus — Test cricket is No.1 and T20 cricket,” said Shastri.