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Do away with permanent batting positions, prescribe Shastri

Written by: Staff

Dubai, May 16 (UNI) Youth should be preferred over experience and there should be no permanent batting position for any player in the Team India ranks to bring in more flexibility, opined former captain Ravi Shastri.

The former cricketer believes under coach Greg Chappell and captain Rahul Dravid, Team India is doing a great job but it was the infusion of young blood that brought about the change and the selectors deserve kudos for opting for youth.

''The Indian team has made giant strides in the One-day game because they have identified roles for every player. The coach, the captain and the selectors needs to be complimented for thinking in the same wavelength. Their selection of a bunch of youngsters has made the team one of the best fielding sides in the world,'' Shastri told ''Gulf News''.

Asserting it was the youngsters who had changed the face of Indian cricket, Shastri said, ''Irfan Pathan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have shown tremendous maturity. Yuvraj Singh is now batting like a bomb. He should have been batting in the present slot nearly one year ago. Unfortunately, the Indian team was not prepared to be flexible earlier.'' He also advised the team not to live in past and move ahead with time.

On whether experienced players like Sourav Ganguly should get a look-in, Shastri said India has learnt to win without the southpaw and said, ''You need to go back to experienced players only if there is a vacuum and there is no talent. If your strategy is to look into the future, then you need to give the youth a chance. They need to be ruthless in selection and no player should be considered indispensable.'' He also threw his weight behind Chappell's continuous rejigging of the batting line-up.

''Whether it is Tendulkar or Dravid, make it clear that no one owns a batting position. One has to play according to the situation of the game, even if it demands that Dhoni bat at No.3 or open the innings.'' On players' burn-put, Shastri felt the need to widen the players' pool.

''If you are only going to shuttle 15 players around the world and make them play all the matches, then one should call them donkeys. You will be literally treating them like donkeys. Cricket is a business which generates income and there should be a pool of 30 players that can be shuffled around. This will help top players get their break at the right time.'' UNI XC AY DH GC1840

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