COLOMBO – After breaking the nine-year-old jinx by winning the opening cricket Test against a depleted Sri Lanka at Galle, India head coach Ravi Shastri on Tuesday exuded confidence on the Virat Kohli-led India side to clinch the three-match series.
The massive 304-run win in the Galle Test was India’s first win at the venue, since Anil Kumble’s side last won a game way back in 2008.
During their last tour to the island nation, India lost their opening Test at the Galle International Stadium before bouncing back strongly to win the next two matches and clinch the series 2-1.
Shastri, who returned to the helm of the side after a year, is confident that the current set-up is capable of reaching greater heights than some of the teams of the past.
“This team has been together for the last two years. They are much more experienced now. They have already done things that a lot of Indian teams and a lot of big names couldn’t do in their careers. Like, for example, winning a series here for over 20 years,” Shastri told reporters here ahead of the second Test, starting on Thursday.
“This team is used to doing things which other Indian teams haven’t done, overseas. Forget Australia, I am not even touching Australia. A lot of tough cricket is coming ahead. I am very positive that this team can do things that probably no other Indian team has done,” he added.
Hailing the team for clinching an easy win in the first Test, Shastri’s only word of advice to the side was to maintain consistency in their performance.
“I thought the boys were fantastic in the last Test match but what we are striving for is improvement. There are still areas to improve from the last game, you know,” the 55-year-old said.
“And, we have discussed that and what we want from this team as a unit collectively is consistency, you know,” he added.
The former India all-rounder also hailed Kohli’s matured captaincy which, he said, was quite visible in his body language.
“I think he (Virat Kohli) is 27-28 Test matches old now as captain, you can see a big difference,” Shastri said.
“You can see it in the body language, he is matured and he will continue to mature and learn. For his age, he has done quite a lot, you know. Again, there are signs there, you know where, you know, he can be right up there with the very best,” he concluded.