Virat Kohli is improving day by day: Ravi Shastri

NEW DELHI: a brilliant 2019 made with, 2020 is the year of the World T20. But before that comes the Kiwi challenge for Team India and under the leadership of the employer. virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri , this team has made their priorities very clear. The longest format of the game is closer to your heart and winning on foreign soil is what you call the real deal.

Speaking to IANS, Shastri spoke about Kohli's love for the longest format, the day he realized that this Indian bowling would be the best in the world and how he deals with the pressure of the comments on the social networks that come with his work as the man who guides a group of immensely talented cricketers.

At a time when many want to play in lucrative rich cash leagues around the world, Kohli says that succeeding in test cricket is the real challenge. So how do you feel as head coach of a team that has a pattern that wants to be the best in the test format? Does it also have an influence on young people?

Massive ... not only for the Indian team, but for the world when it comes to test cricket. More than anything, when a player like him backs the game in an open way where he is very clear about what he wants from the cricket test and that he likes that format more.

So when a child watches the game, when they see a superstar hugging the Tests, you'll want to emulate it if you're Indian, English, Australian, Pakistani or Sri Lankan, he said.

What helps Kohli and Shastri realize their dream of being the best in the longest format is a team of brilliant players led by Jasprit Bumrah and skillfully assisted by people like Mohammed Shami , Ishant Sharma & Umesh Yadav . And the New Zealand series will once again need them to keep the fort in known conditions to help fast bowling.

So when did Shastri believe that this group of bowlers could take India to the top of the stairs? Did you see it coming? The coach answers affirmatively.

Absolutely ... there is no doubt about it. I was very clear in South Africa after we had a team meeting after the first day of the Cape Town Test. Then, seeing what they did in the second inning, I had no doubt in my mind that if they continue this way, you will soon be an attack that you will have to fight with. The fact that they learned to pitch as a unit, you know that made a difference.

"You bat as a unit & the same goes for the bowling. You understand the situation & go with a common game plan. It is all related to team play. Once I knew that was happening in South Africa, I knew it was a matter of time for the world to notice," he smiled.

While the bowlers have been praised by one & all, an area of constant discussion has been the questions aimed at Kohli the skipper at regular intervals. But Shastri rubbishes them & says he hasn't seen one perfect captain.

"I have not seen one perfect captain. You will have captains with different strengths & weaknesses. I have not seen any perfect captain till today. He might have great strength in one area & might be lacking in another where someone else will be better. So, you have to see the end result & what he makes of his strength & how it affects the team & the opponent.

"With Virat you can see he is someone who is improving by the day. The passion, the energy, the drive he brings to the cricket field is unmatched. I have not seen any other captain bring that kind of energy onto the cricket field. Tactically there are areas where by doing the job & getting the exposure he will get better. For whoever has captained in this game, there has been a learning curve. I can't think of one captain who didn't have to learn from day one. You learn from situations & what he has done is remarkable," he points.

So does that mean there are differences of opinion when the two sit down to discuss strategies? Or is the criticism true that he is often happy to agree with Kohli?

"There is always room for fresh ideas. There will be discussions on that & it cannot be that everything you say is right. This team is open to reasoning & even the youngest member in the team can come up with a thought & at the end of the day, we put our heads combined to see what is best in the interest of the team," he explained.

And what about the social media comments & the constant attention that comes with being the head coach of this team? Does it sometimes bother you?

"I mean that is part & parcel of the Indian cricket. This is nothing new & have grown to know that from when I took the job in 2014. Basically, nothing has changed & it is the passion in our country & love for the game is such. They want the team to do well at all times," he signs off in typical fashion.