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Shastri vote for Kumar

Calcutta: India, according to Ravi Shastri, are “clear favourites” for the upcoming four-Test series against Australia, but need to guard against complacency.

“Look, India will begin as clear favourites, but must not become complacent... They’d become so after winning the first Test versus England and ended up losing the last series... Hopefully, lessons have been learnt,” Shastri, a former India captain and cricket manager, told The Telegraph.

Speaking on Thursday, Shastri added: “Everyone is talking about the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey and that Australia don’t have a world-class spinner... But X’s retirement gives an opportunity to Y...

“I’m not in favour of drastic changes in our team... Sure, Viru (Virender Sehwag) and (Gautam) Gambhir are under pressure, but I don’t know what the selectors are thinking... Both Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan have got runs for Rest of India...

“It’s not a given that Viru and Gambhir will open the India innings... It was so till a year or two back, not now...

“I’d certainly like young Bhuvneshwar Kumar to be given a chance in Test matches... Swing is important and he can swing it... The way Ravindra Jadeja has been bowling is pleasing... He has to work on his batting to be called an all-rounder, but his bowling has been a positive...”

Asked if the ODI series win against England had taken much of the heat off captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shastri replied: “We’re back as the No.1 team (in ODIs), so how can questions be asked of the captain? Indeed, why still complain? I’ve never felt Dhoni’s position has been threatened.”

In Shastri’s view, Sachin Tendulkar is “hungry.” He is, of course, only available for Test cricket now.

Nothing is official, but there are whispers that Sachin will retire from all formats at the end of the Australia series.