The Telegraph
Sunday , April 6 , 2014
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‘Virat’s the modern-day Viv... He brings that X factor to the table’

India’s game plan must not change, nor the mindset: Ravi
Ravi Shastri

Dhaka: Ravi Shastri, a former India captain and cricket manager, spoke to The Telegraph from Mumbai on Saturday evening.


Q Early on in the tournament, you’d reiterated that Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s destined to lift a third World trophy. Will it be on Sunday?

A There’s a very good chance. In fact, Dhoni can’t get a better chance than this. But even if we don’t win, Dhoni’s proved he’s a world-class captain... Duncan Fletcher’s shown he’s a world-class coach.

India are a match away from becoming the first team to hold all three international titles (World Cup, Champions Trophy, World T20) simultaneously. Are you too getting a sense of thrill?

One’s aware that history could be created... It would be a very special moment, but I’m not looking too far ahead. Today, what I’m pleased about is the way we’ve won the big matches — against Pakistan, the West Indies, Australia, South Africa... This team is a class act.

Thoughts on the eve of the World T20 final, against Sri Lanka...

T20 is a lottery, but India start clear favourites.

What makes the difference in a major final?

Mental strength and the ability to hold nerve. Those qualities allow a team to win the moments which count... Dhoni epitomises what I’ve said. He’s got loads of mental strength and can hold nerve.

Specifically, what should India do?

Stick to what has brought them dividends in the tournament... India’s game plan must not change, nor the mindset.

What must India avoid doing?

Not think too far ahead. It’s important to stay in the present, remain focused... Not get carried away.

Some words on Virat Kohli’s form...

Virat’s the modern-day (Sir) Viv Richards... He was simply brilliant against South Africa, producing an innings of such high quality under so much pressure. He brings that X factor to the table.

Who could pose the biggest threat to India?

I’d pick Lasith Malinga, even though his record against India isn’t great.

Finally... A last-minute advice to Dhoni...

(Laughs) Dhoni needs no advice. He’s on the verge of becoming one of the greatest captains that cricket has seen... He’ll shut up those in India who’ve been saying this and that. He’ll put an end to the discussions.