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I am not at all surprised with India’s turnaround: Shastri

Ravi Shastri

Perth: India’s stunning turnaround of fortunes in the cricket World Cup may have surprised many but not team director Ravi Shastri, who says the “script went on expected lines” as he had full faith in the players’ abilities.

India entered the quadrennial extravaganza following a winless tour Down Under and the defending champions were far from being called favourites to retain the title.

However, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s outfit proved their credentials with two convincing wins against arch-rivals Pakistan and a strong South African team. They have won all their three matches so far with emphatic margins and are now almost certain to qualify for the quarter-finals as the top team from Group-B.

“I am not at all surprised. In fact, why should I be surprised that the team has started on a magnificent note. I had complete belief in the boys and their abilities,” Shastri told in an exclusive interview today.

“It was a case of performing to their potential and that’s exactly what has happened in the two matches against Pakistan and South Africa. If you ask me, the script went on expected lines,” the former Indian captain said.

According to him, the break after a disastrous tri-series campaign, which came on the back of 0-2 defeat in the Test rubber, did the trick for the Men in Blue.

“I think the team was mentally drained after playing the tri-series. The boys needed to recharge their batteries and freshen up for the World Cup. The break from cricket did them a world of good as they came all guns blazing when it was required. And frankly speaking, I believe that this tri-series that we played was sheer waste of time and energy.”

Besides batting and bowling, the Indian fielders have caught the eye with their athleticism on the field, prompting Shastri to go to the extent of calling them one of fittest units in the world. He said this in relation to a question on the 1985 victorious campaign in the Benson & Hedges World Championship, where the former all-rounder was at the forefront.

“I don’t love looking back too much into the past nor am I interested in looking too far ahead. But I would like to say this with conviction that this is the best Indian fielding unit that I have seen in many years. This team has some amazing fielders and they are among the fittest in international cricket,” he said.

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