WTC Final, IND vs AUS: Disappointed Ravi Shastri slams India for lacking positive mindset by opting to field
India left out veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and preferred a four-pronged pace attack to go with left-arm spin bowling allrounder Ravindra Jadeja as they chose to bowl under overcast conditions at The Oval in the World Test Championship (WTC) Final against Australia.
Former head coach Ravi Shastri expressed disappointment with India's defensive strategy and claimed Rohit Sharma did not exhibit a "positive mindset" by choosing to bowl in the World Test Championship final against Australia at the Oval.
India decided to bowl under cloud cover, leaving out seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in favour of a four-pronged pace attack and left-arm spin bowling all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. The choice backfired as Steve Smith (batting for 95 runs) and Travis Head (batting for 146 runs) put Australia in a dominant 327/3 going into day two.
"From what came out today, the mindset was to field if they won the toss, hence the choices in the bowling department -- four seamers one spinner," Shastri told ICC after the end of the opening day's play on Wednesday.
"If the mindset was positive you'd want to bat, rough it out in the first session and see if you can put 250 on board. Don't think too big 250-260 and if the conditions got better and you saw the first session through, you could have got more," he added.
At lunchtime on day one, India had Australia at 73/2, but when the skies cleared, it turned into a batting beauty as Smith and Head shifted the tide in their favour. Shastri added that Australia is in a strong position and that it is up to Pat Cummins and his team to allow India to rejoin the main event.
"I think Australia are in a prime position now. It's up to them to allow India back into the game, they batted beautifully, especially in the first session of play and that really set things up," Shastri said.
The former India all-rounder believes that using the new ball effectively on Thursday and picking up wickets will be the only option for India to get back into the match.
"You have to think wickets, if you wait for things to happen this game is gone. Australia will be another 200 runs by tea time tomorrow if not more. So think wickets try and make the second new ball count in the first 45 minutes of play."
"You saw what you did with Head -- better lines, into the body, lot of short stuff and take it from there and if you strike early you take it from there."
Shastri asserted, however, that India will lose control of the match if they are unable to pick up early wickets on day two.
"Winning will become difficult. If you lose that session in the morning then you can forget about winning. Australia can bat India out of the contest by even wanting to bat two and a half sessions tomorrow with the way they are going they could be 600 plus," Shastri added.