The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A shake-up is needed: Shastri
- The passion must be re-ignited... The players have to be hungry, says former India captain
Shastri thinks Dravid can't go on in a double role.

Southampton: Former captain Ravi Shastri has called for a 'shake up' before Team India takes on Australia in the four-Test series beginning on October 6.

'At home, our results should be better as Kumbles (Anil Kumble) and Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) are going to play a big role. However, a shake-up is needed... The impression I've got is that some are taking their place for granted and, generally, complacency has set in,' Shastri told The Telegraph at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday.

He was reacting to India's ouster in the Champions Trophy and the failure to win the previous three ODI tournaments/bilateral series as well.

Shastri feels Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh are going to play a big role at home.

'Living in the past is dangerous and there's little time before we take on the Australians... Basically, the passion must be re-ignited... The players have to be hungry... If the only way out is to field less experienced ones, so be it,' Shastri added.

Asked whether he had words of advice for the thoroughly out-of-form Virender Sehwag, Shastri replied: 'Nothing very dramatic... He has to work on the basics, getting his footwork right... He should spend much more time at nets.'

The Australians aren't scheduled to play ODIs, but Shastri felt this business of fielding seven batsmen has to stop.

'We claim to have the best batting line-up... Well, that being so, five batsmen ought to suffice or, at best, six... Why seven' Even with that many, we managed just 200 at Edgbaston... It was pathetic,' he boomed.

Shastri continued: 'Our front-ranking batsmen have to take more responsibility and Rahul Dravid can't go on in a double role... It was fine in the 2003 World Cup but, today, the selectors have to look ahead... They must start planning for the 2007 edition and Dravid shouldn't keep...'

That, for you, is plain speaking.

Incidentally, asked if England's win over Australia (on Tuesday) surprised him, Shastri responded: 'No... Michael Vaughan is leading a very well balanced side which is very high on confidence.... Look at the ease (six wickets) with which England won...'

England's body-language has certainly changed.


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