Coach says India could have easily leveled the England Test series 2-2 or been 3-1 ahead
England prevailed in the fourth Test at Southampton by 60 runs with India and the hosts neck and neck for much of the match. Shastri said the series scoreline could easily have been different had India grabbed their opportunities in the first Test in Birmingham (which India lost by 31 runs) or the fourth.
“The scoreline says 3-1 which means India have lost. What the scoreline doesn’t say that India could have been 3-1 or it could have been 2-2,” Shastri said on Wednesday.
“And the team knows it. They would have hurt and rightly so after the last game. But this is a team that will not throw in the towel. It will come out there and look to compete.”
India had a golden opportunity to win a series in South Africa earlier in the year but they squandered winning moments to lose 2-1. In England, India failed to drive home the advantage in the first and fourth Tests. Captain Virat Kohli said inability to cross the finish line is hurting the team and the coach concurred.
“We have run teams close overseas and we have competed. But now it’s not about competing. We have to win games,” Shastri said. “The endeavour is to understand where you made the mistakes and try to correct it. Fact is you had a chance.”
However, the former India opener said his team remains one of the most competitive team produced by his country in Test cricket and the series defeat does not change his belief.
“As far as crossing the line goes, you have to give credit to Moeen Ali there on the last day (in Southampton). He bowled magnificently. As hard as our guys tried, England were one-up on us there.
“If you look at the last three years, we have won nine matches overseas. I can’t see any other Indian team in the last 15-20 years that has had the same run in such a short time, and you have had some great players playing in those series. So the promise is there, it is just about getting tougher mentally.”