“There was no complaint from the Indian management about anything. On this entire trip, you will never see an Indian team giving excuses with regards to conditions or the pitch,” he said.
In fact, Shastri went on to add that he insisted that the groundstaff don’t shave off the grass from the top of the wicket as he wanted the players to get a feel of the conditions that could be on offer in the Test series.
“The pitch? It is good. The grounds man asked me there was enough grass on, do you want the grass to be taken off? I said absolutely not. It is your prerogative. What you give us, we play. I said leave it. There was grass there, so don’t take anything off,” he clarified.
Shastri has been known to speak his mind and the coach said that the Indian team wants to be the best touring team in the world and that needs them to perform on any give condition.
“Our challenge is to beat the opposition. We take pride in performing wherever we go. We want to be the best travelling side in the word. So the last person who will make a complaint will be this Indian team,” he pointed.
There have often been talks about rank turners being dished out by India to foreign teams and this is where Shastri has a problem. He feels that while India doesn’t complain about the wicket on offer when they travel, the same should apply for foreign teams when they come to India.
"My philosophy is very simple - (in) your country, I don't ask questions (about the pitch). You don’t ask questions when you come to my country,” he said.
Clearing the air on the decision to reduce the match against Essex to a three-day affair, Shastri said: “It was because of the logistics and the (conditions) that were prevailing. We had an opportunity to practise three days in Birmingham, which is the Test match venue. If we had played four days here, we would have lost that one day because of travel.
“The prerogative whether to play a two-day game, three-day game, four-day game, lies entirely with the visiting team so it was decided yesterday. We were ready to even play a two-day game and use that one day (third) for a full day of practice here, the centre pitch. But when they explained about the tickets we said fine well play a three-day game. And travel on Saturday to be able to practice on Sunday,” the coach signed off.
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First Published: July 26, 2018, 8:20 AM IST