Shastri sets lofty fielding goal

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Not too long ago if you suggested that India could be the best fielding side in the world you would be the laughing stock of the cricket world.

However under Virat Kohli the team has made tremendous gains in terms of their fielding driven by their obsessive skipper.

Kohli trains harder than most players in world cricket and the expectation is that his charges will follow suit with coach Ravi Shastri setting the bar high.

Shastri told the Times of India: “When the time comes for India to field a side for the 2019 50-over World Cup, we should have the best fielding XI in the world walking out.

“Only the fittest of the lot will survive and thrive going forward and that’s right up there in the list of priorities.”

India clinically put away Sri Lanka in the Test series without so much as a single hiccup but with India’s number one Test ranking secure for the immediate future the focus shifts to the 2019 World Cup.

However Shastri feels that dominance in the Test arena will flow into the shorter formats.

In 2011 India ended a long drought at the ICC’s premier tournament and in 2019 they will be among the favourites yet again and will be hoping that they can field as well as major rivals Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa.

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Shastri said: “The World Cup has its own space that needs to be respected. And while that remains the goal, a fact also remains that if India need to show their real might in the game, then achieving results in Test cricket is the pinnacle.

“Now, these are two different sets of goals altogether. Both need to be pursued with equal amount of zeal and yet, both require a completely different level of preparation.

“Look at countries like England and Australia and how they perceive the game. Playing top-notch Test cricket and excelling in it is what they want to do. World Cups keep coming every four years and of course, we all understand its importance from a global and fan perspective. But if this team really has to be tested, then it’s Test cricket and we have plenty of it coming up next year.”