Batters can take India to semi-finals, says Ravi Shastri

Mumbai: Former India coach Ravi Shastri believes the current crop of batting the country has put together for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is good enough to help the team reach the semi-finals.

Shastri led India at last year’s T20 World Cup as the Asian side won just three of their five matches and failed to qualify for the event’s direct knockouts. India won the title in the first T20 World Cup in 2007 but have not performed well since then.

But almost 12 months on, India’s batting line-up looks more stable, with the recent emergence of Suryakumar Yadav and the reintroduction of veteran Dinesh Karthik in the middle order.

And despite the absence of key player Jasprit Bumrah due to injury, Shastri believes India’s batting can help the team qualify for the semi-finals this time around.

“I have been part of the system for the last six-seven years, first as a coach and now I am looking from the outside and I think this is as good a squad as India has ever had in T20 cricket,” Shastri said at an event here on Wednesday.

“With Surya (Yadav) at No.4, Hardik (Pandya) at No.5 and Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik at No.6, it makes a huge difference as it allows the top order to play the way plays.”

However, Shastri is a bit worried about India’s performance, with the experienced coach noting that the team will need to perform better in this area throughout the event.

“One area that India will have to pick up and start from scratch is the field,” he said. “They have to work hard and get their A-game on the field when they come out (in the first match) against Pakistan.”

“Those 15-20 runs you save can make a big difference because otherwise every time you come out to bat, you have to get 15-20 runs extra,” Shastri said.

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