Although India has lost yet another series overseas and this time to probably one of the weakest English sides ever, head coach Ravi Shastri says that he sees a lot of positives for the Virat Kohli led team to take forward from the five-match Test series that just concluded.
Even though it looks India wasted one of their greatest opportunity and lost the series 4-1, Shastri has expressed that he isn't one to look too much into the negatives and press the panic button just as yet.
While India doesn't deserve the series scoreline, they certainly have deeper issues and problems to deal with properly. But the fact that his team ran the home side close in tough conditions, is something Shastri is looking to try and build from.
In an interview given to ESPNcricinfo, Shastri said, "It was a tough tour. And tough lessons to be learned. Deep down we know in every Test match barring Lord's we had our chances." and added, "Lord's we lost and Nottingham we won. In the other three Tests we had our chances big time. We came close, but could not close the deal. We have addressed what has to be done next time round. We have discussed matters."
In praise of the fast bowling unit of Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami, Shastri feels, "India got much better as a bowling unit (in England after South Africa). I was pleasantly surprised to read in one of the UK newspapers which said if there was a composite side picked, the four fast bowlers would be three Indians (Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami) and [James] Anderson. That was the ultimate compliment you can get."
On the batting front, he thinks, "As far as batting goes, it was tough for both sides. When the ball moves around so much and it seams, I don't care who the batsman is, it is going to be tough. You need your share of luck. And when you weigh the factors - every time India batted it had to be cloudy, every time England batted the sun was out. But that is not an excuse."
"I'm just saying very clearly that a moving Dukes ball will test anybody. So it took us time, but we got better at it as the series went on. As opposed to guys who are born and bred on these [pitches] who still struggled all the way. That is reality, which should be accepted." he added, "Even in my years of coming here as a player, broadcaster and as a coach I have not seen so much movement and seam."
When asked about the lack of proper red-ball games preparation that India again went through on another tour overseas, Shastri cleared that he isn't opposed to more practice games and infact has already requested the BCCI for a couple of warm-up matches leading upto the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia later this year.
"If you have two or three games against weaker sides we don't mind because it is a game." he said, "But when you have a schedule as tight as this and when you have a memorandum of understanding that has already been formulated, with a choc-a-bloc calendar, there is very little you can do. Now, we have requested for a couple of [warm-up] games in Australia before the Test series." and informed, "Yes. Already done that(requesting the BCCI). But is there space [to play those matches], that is the question."
"Absolutely not(against the warm-up games). Why would we be? You can only see the results. Every time after the second Test we have improved. You can still get better. But why can't we be in that position in the first Test match?"
In conclusion, Shastri reiterated that he is, "Last one to press the panic button when I see so many positives. I head back home with a very positive state of mind. I know exactly what we do. I know exactly and clearly where the team is heading - it is heading in the right direction." and pointing towards the critics mentioned, "People are entitled to their opinions. As long as we know the job we are doing and we are honest to our jobs, as long as support staff we are helping players channelise the energies in the right direction, we are not worried about what critics say."