As India and Australia gear up for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, former India coach Ravi Shastri boldly said that India should look to win the series as they are playing under the home conditions.
Australia’s Test tour of India is their first since 2017 when India won a tight-fought series 2-1.
The two most recent Border-Gavaskar Trophy meetings between these nations have both been held in Australia, with India winning each series 2-1 – in 2018/19 and 2020/21.
The four-match Test series gets underway in Nagpur on Thursday, with India facing a number of intriguing selection dilemmas.
And according to Shastri, India’s goal in 2023 should not just be to win the series but also to completely whitewash the visitors that are currently ranked first in the ICC Test Rankings.
“India should look to win 4-0, we’re playing at home. I’m brutal. I’ve been to two tours of Australia, I know what’s happened,” Shastri said in The ICC Review.
“My mindset would be, ‘How can I beat Australia 4-0 if I’m the coach’, which means day one, I want a ball to pitch on leg stump and hit off stump. I want it to rip. If someone asks me what kind of pitch? Expect that. If you lose the toss, expect the ball to turn in the first session of play. That’s what I want, and take it from there,” he added.
Even if Shubman Gill does not move into the middle order, his outstanding performance in white-ball cricket has enhanced his case for an opening spot in the first Test against Australia.
“Shubman or Rahul depends on the team management, what they think. Obviously, you’d want to go with what you’ve been doing in the past, but form becomes critical. You know, someone’s hitting it real sweet and it’s coming out of the centre of the bat. Then, you know, you wake up, and say, ‘listen’,” Shastri said.
Shastri also thinks that if Gill or vice-captain KL Rahul seems more prepared to open the batting should determine whether or not Gill is included.
“I’d have been watching Gill and KL Rahul very closely in the nets. Very closely. If it’s a hard call; when I see footwork when I see the timing as to who is batting better.
If it has to be Shubman ahead of Rahul, so be it. You know, straight. You have to see that. I won’t say that KL Rahul is the vice-captain so he becomes the automatic choice,” said the former India coach.
“It can happen. It happened once in my tenure when I was a coach in Sri Lanka. There was a series that happened in India, and there were two openers. And, you know, they wanted to persevere with one.
I took over and then I just saw the form of Shikhar Dhawan in the nets, and he was red-hot straight after the Champion’s Trophy in England. So we picked him and he got 190 in that game, and the rest is history,” Shastri added.
The Border-Gavaskar series is all set to start on Thursday as Rohit Sharma-led side is eyeing a place in ICC World Test Championship final beginning June 7.