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Shastri urges India to maintain aggressive approach in Asia Cup

Ravi Shastri on Tuesday said India must continue with their ultra-aggressive approach with the bat in the shortest format after being a tad ‘timid’ in the past.

India’s conservative approach at the start of the innings had contributed to their early exit from the T20 World Cup last year. The tournament was Shastri’s last assignment as India head coach.

“They should not change the approach (they have shown of late). Even when I was coach, we discussed we were a bit timid at the top considering the players we had down the order.

“It is the right approach. You will lose a few games in between but if you start winning with this approach you can take that confidence in big games and use the same tactics,” said Shastri in a press conference organised by Star Sports.

Virat Kohli will return to the playing eleven after being rested for the West Indies series, while K L Rahul returns after an injury lay off.

Can the two senior batters show the same aggression the younger players have shown in their absence?

“Why not? They are very experienced players,” said Shastri.

“They have played enough IPL and T20s and it should not be tough for them to adjust. With Rishabh, Hardik, Jadeja there is enough depth in the middle and lower order to get the innings back on track if top order falls cheaply.”

The return of Hardik Pandya, the all-rounder, has lent much needed balance to the Indian playing eleven.

“He is one of the most important cogs in India’s wheel. You take him out, the balance goes awry. We missed him last year at the World Cup where he could not bowl. No one is close to the quality that he possesses,” Shastri said.

“He has to be watched very closely. With the games coming up (before the T20 World cup), Bumrah and Hardik need to be observed very carefully to ensure there is no breakdown. They are your two important players.”

Shastri also backed Kohli to end his lean run in Asia Cup.

“I haven’t spoken to him (recently). It is not rocket science. Mental fatigue can creep into the best in the world. This down time was not just needed for his body but to reflect,” the 60-year-old said.

“He will come back with a much calmer mind. He gets 50 in the first game, mouths will be shut. Public memory is very short and works both ways.

“There is no cricketer fitter than him. People keep saying one innings can make a difference but with a player like Kohli it makes a massive difference. His hunger and passion remains undiminished. He would have learnt from this phase let me tell you that,” he said.

Shastri also added that efforts should be made to negate the toss advantage. Even in the World Cup in UAE last year, toss played a massive role with most teams opting to bat second amid dew.

“90 percent of the games were won by teams who won the toss. You must start when there is dew in both the innings. 6 pm start makes the start extremely important (with the fielding team not experiencing dew). If you have to make sure that both sides get to face same amount of dew.”

Pakistan great Wasim Akram was also part of the media interaction conducted ahead of the Asia Cup.

“It gets boring that way. Something should be done about the dew factor but I doubt if anything can be done,” said Akram.

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