Ravi Shastri's message to Team India: 'You don't come to ground to draw a match'

Galle, Aug 10: Team Director Ravi Shastri says the learning curve for the Indian side is over and it's time that the players start winning Test matches abroad by finding ways to get 20 wickets.

Series guide, schedule

India are aiming to win a first series on Lankan soil in more than two decades when the first Test gets underway here Wednesday.

File photo: Ravi Shastri (left) with Test captain Virat Kohli

"You don't come to a cricket ground to draw a cricket match so you play a brand of cricket where you look to take the game forward and you look to take 20 wickets, that is paramount. You have got to think how you can take 20 wickets to take the game forward and win the game," Shastri said.

"It is extremely important to start winning games. They have had the learning curve in South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia. They have played a lot of cricket overseas and that experience factor will certainly come into play when they get back to conditions they are familiar with."

Shastri also backed skipper Virat Kohli's strategy to field five bowlers. "And then the fact that you have an additional bowler might just help you close matches that you couldn’t earlier. It's not about getting big runs but about taking 20 wickets. Look at England in the Ashes. It's their depth in bowling that has made all the difference," he pointed out.

India's last Test series win in Sri Lanka came back in 1993 when they won a three-match series 1-0. Since then, winning here has been a big question mark. But now the Lankan team is also rebuilding with a lot of new faces around, putting this series in a fine balance.

"I think they had some very good sides in the past and they play very well as a unit and as a team," said Shastri.

"When I came here first in the 80s they won that series 1-0. They had a pretty decent attack. And right through those middle years they had Muttiah Muralitharan who was a massive influence. Of course you have Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara coming in after that, but again Murali was the main guy as it is about taking 20 wickets.

"And he was instrumental with some other spinners in doing that. That's why they have been a force in this part of the world. So it is a big challenge."


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