Asia Cup 2016 February 23, 2016

Shastri calls for winning starts from India

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We need to start well - Shastri

There is theatre in a counterattack and India have played the protagonist for a while now. They went down to Australia in the five-match ODI series but came back with T20I wins to square the eight-match limited-overs tour. Against Sri Lanka at home, they lost the first match before wrapping up a 2-1 scoreline and another trophy. Team director Ravi Shastri, however, has had enough of that. He prefers India buck up and begins series with wins as well.

"We don't want to always come from behind. Sometimes we want to start also well. So hopefully we'll be looking to do that in this tournament," he told reporters in Fatullah where the Indian team trained ahead of the opening match of the Asia Cup's main round. "Like I said, every game from now is important before the World Cup. Yes, we are playing the Asia Cup but the momentum is good so it's important to keep that momentum going."

Shastri has been the man the BCCI have turned to to help the Indian team come back from unfavourable results. He was appointed the team's cricket manager in 2007 in the wake of a first-round exit at the World Cup. His current and rolling post of team director was created in August 2014 as a response to India's poor form on overseas tours. A few winning starts and the ability to build on them can be the best outcome for Shastri and the team going into a World T20 at home.

India's first challenge in the Asia Cup will come from the Bangladesh, who were near unstoppable during the last meeting between the two teams. Mustafizur Rahman claimed five wickets on ODI debut and then six more in the next game to spearhead a 2-1 victory. Shastri, however, appears quite comfortable a repeat of that will not happen.

"That was eight months ago, I've already forgotten about it," he said. "There's been plenty of cricket since. Ask about what's been going on in the last two months. Anything before that, I don't have in my memory."

Shastri is more than aware of the hosts' threat though, after a breakout 2015 when they reached their first World Cup quarter-final and secured maiden series wins over Pakistan, India and South Africa. "I've seen cricket in Bangladesh grow, I've come here right through the 90s as a broadcaster. I'm happy to see the way cricket has developed and I'm happy to see the Bangladesh has evolved as a team. No team can take them lightly as they showed last year playing one-day cricket and tribute to them. So they have the respect of every opposition and India will be no different."

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Iceman29 on February 24, 2016, 13:06 GMT

    BD team is so awesome that even one player from the team is enough to win the match singlehandedly.... :P

  • i_amVIVA on February 23, 2016, 18:31 GMT

    @MANUJIBHAI: Afg in not in the playing mix, they're defeated by UAE and out. and, Never underestimate BD at home, they are maturing with a good set of seniors that kicked out your Ind from WC in 2007, remember :) and this is T20 after all, bro !!! Go Tigers...

  • i_amVIVA on February 23, 2016, 15:14 GMT

    @EARTHLINGS: C'on guys, you said the same thing last time before the ODI , and saw what happened :) It's T20 this time, and BD has to begin somewhere! Never underestimate the rising Tigers, especially at their own den. Win or lose, hope to see a thrilling game today...

  • JKJK1234 on February 23, 2016, 13:28 GMT

    @VARUNAK...If Harbhjan's career was over few years ago then what is he doing in the team? Learning more Cricket? What is is gonna do with that?? Isn't that too much Cricket for him. If your claims are true, I seriously think Team Management should consider bringing young blood in the team. I don't know why should they ruin players just for the sake of #1.

  • Rip_testcricket on February 23, 2016, 12:35 GMT

    @earthlings pandya is not a pinch hitter he just got lucky because sri lanka have the worst bowling line up at the moment

  • earthlings on February 23, 2016, 11:43 GMT

    @SAURAVJAIN.. Sir Pandya is x factor of Indian T20 Team. He is a pinch hitter and can turn a T20 match withing matter of 2-3 overs with his hitting ability particularly against the spinners. As a part time bowler, he is expected to bowl only one or two overs per match. The fifth bowler quota will be shared by Pandya, Yuvi and Raina. There is no doubt about his batting abilities.

  • earthlings on February 23, 2016, 11:33 GMT

    @EVDA_CHETA... India has whitewashed Aus in Aus and all Indian batsmen scored plenty of runs. India has won more tournaments than any other cricketing nation. Bangladesh is just a minnow in T20 cricket. No Indian batsmen is feared of Bangladeshi bowling attack. Good luck.

  • crrkiran on February 23, 2016, 11:32 GMT

    yuvraj should be tested by promoting up the order this asia cup. he should come after kohli and before raina. his comeback is not justified except for that sydney last over boundaries in the 3rd t20

  • varunak on February 23, 2016, 11:31 GMT

    @JKJK1234- are you even serious? If it was sarcasm then it fine. But if you really think so then you have a problem. Harbhajan's career was over a few years ago. Its time even Ravi Shastri bids goodbye to Indian cricket team, its high time we need a proper coach for our team.

  • fab4_india on February 23, 2016, 11:26 GMT

    For all those basking for the Bangladesh's easy victory and all the thrashing India gonna get from so called Bengal Tigers and also those who think India is merely a home track wonder, can u please tell me how many matched Bangladesh won outside their home? This is T20 guys, and no one, and i mean no one is favorites in this kind of format. Who ever has a better day will win. And with teams like Sri Lanka and my favorite Pakistan, no one is front runner here. Well am just praying for a tough match and a closely contested tournament to determine the Asian Supremacy. Which ever team wins, i pray that cricket wins at the end. All the best to all the 5 teams.

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