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Addressing the calm before the storm: Ravi Shastri's challenges on second stint as Team India coach

As Ravi Shastri prepares for a second stint with the Indian team, take a look at what challenges lie ahead for him.

Brett Ellis Written by: Brett Ellis @Brettellis1907 New Delhi Published on: August 18, 2019 8:52 IST
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As Ravi Shastri prepares for a second stint with the Indian team, take a look at what challenges lie ahead for him.

Ravi Shastri has been re-appointed as the Team India head coach and with his contract valid till November 2021, the incumbent Shastri has plenty on his plate as the focus from here is on the longest format of the game and the shortest. The World Test Championships and the World T20 in 2020, 2021.

Re-appointed as the Team India head coach, Shastri's first aim should be consolidating for the 2019 World Cup exit. The tag of 'chokers' is not too far away, given that Team India have exited from the 2015 and 2019 WC's in the semi-final stages, 2017 Champions trophy final and 2016 World T20 semis as well.

There is no denying that the Indian cricket team has become stronger, meaner, aggressive and mature under the influence of Shastri and Co, with the Test series win in Australia being the icing on the cake, but it's time to place future prospects into place from here on in his second stint as coach.

The road from here on does not look exactly smooth, despite most of the tours being scheduled at home in 2019.

South Africa (3 T20Is, 3 Tests), Bangladesh (3 T20Is, 2 Tests), West Indies (3 T20Is, 3 ODIs), Zimbabwe (3 T20Is) and Australia (3 ODIs).

India will then travel to New Zealand where they are slated to play 5 T20Is, 3 ODIs and 2 Tests. The Proteas return in March 2020 for a three-match ODI series.

Those are just the tours mentioned. The real test Shastri and Co will face are the following -

World T20 2020, World T20 2021

India clean-sweeped the three-match T20I series against the defending champions, West Indies in their yard. But that does not make the Men in Blue ready. With the introduction of Krunal Pandya, Navdeep Saini, Deepak and Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed in the latest addition to the squad, India have many opportunities to explore in terms of middle-order and their bowling unit. The 2020 World T20 will be hosted in Australia and the 2021 World T20 being hosted in India. The Men in Blue had a chance at hand in 2016, but West Indies proved to be just too good at the time, given the big-hitters they comprised off.

Placing their 2019 World Cup woes behind, Shastri stated that a legacy has to continue and has unfinished business left.

"The reason why I came in here is the belief I had in this team, the belief that they could leave a legacy which very few teams have left behind which other teams going down will try and emulate.

"That is the desire. We are on track. There's always room for improvement and with youth coming around, we can be sure of exciting times in the near future," he added.

The Indian head coach emphasized that he, along with the team, would be striving to improve on all fronts and make sure they learn from mistakes.

"You've got to learn from your mistakes, nobody is perfect. When you strive for excellence and strive to raise the bar then you have to pay attention to detail," he said.

World Test Championship

Currently being the No.1 ranked Test side, India have improved vastly in the longest format of the game. Comprising of one of the best bowling units in the world to keeping Test specialists, India are finally dominating in red ball cricket. However, despite their maiden Test series win in Australia, every Test match from here onwards will count, starting with the two-match series against West Indies followed by 3 Tests at home against South Africa.

India then host Bangladesh for a two-match Test series, which would be the only second time when the sub-continental neighbors visit the country for five-day games. This will be India’s final Test series at home in the World Test Championship.

For the next one-and-a-half years, India will participate in three Test tours, which include 11 matches at New Zealand, Australia and England. This will be a tricky phase for Ravi Shastri, and he would want his playing XI ready before the away-phase of India’s campaign begins.

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