Prepared to be flexible .... Shastri on number 4 slot

New Delhi, May 21: The fourth slot in the Indian batting line-up has been a much discussed and debated issue during the months preceeding the upcoming ODI World Cup.

Even a day before the Indian squad departs for the tournament which begins in the UK on May 30, coach Ravi Shastri was not sure which batsman in the current bunch is tailor made for that spot.

He did however, give an idea how the Indians will go about handling the issue.

"We are prepared to be flexible. England is the only place in the world where even if the pitch is flat the bowlers will get movement in the air if the conditions are overcast," Shastri said at the pre-departure press conference.

“Our mantra is to be flexible in the last 10 overs. The pitches are going to be flat but overcast conditions will also have to be taken into consideration. It will also depend from venue to venue. You will not see the ball doing too much in London. But if you go up north, the conditions will be totally different. So you have to be prepared for that and be flexible,” he added.

The chief coach also asserted that handling the pressure will be key if the Indians are to win the World Cup for a thrid time and called on his players to enjoy the experience of playing on the most prestigious stage of world cricket.

"As far as this tournament is concerned, it's an opportunity. If you look at this team, what they have done over these five years, they have played brilliant cricket," he said. "It's about striving for that consistency and not playing any differently just because it's a World Cup," he said.

"World Cup might be a stage but that stage is to be enjoyed. The most important thing is get out there and enjoy the World Cup and if you play to the potential the cup might be here."

On Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shastri said the 37-year old former India captain would be a vital cog in the team's plans. Also, there was no better wicket-keeper in the game than him at present, he added.

"You don't need to tell him. He will be right there doing what he does. His communication with Virat has been fantastic. As a wicket-keeper, there is no one better than him. Those little moments can change the game, and there is no one better. The way he was moving in the IPL shows he is in a fine form. He will be a big player for us in the World Cup," Shastri said.

News24 Bureau

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