Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 7 (ANI): India head coach Ravi Shastri on Sunday said that all-rounder Washington Sundar has more natural ability than he ever did during his playing career.
Team India on Saturday roared into the final of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) following an emphatic 3-1 series win over England. Virat Kohli's men, who defeated England in the fourth and final Test by an innings and 25 runs at the Narendra Modi Stadium, will now face New Zealand in the WTC final slated to be played from June 18 to 22, with June 23 as the reserve day at the iconic Lord's Stadium in London.
Sundar had played an unbeaten knock of 96 runs in the first innings as the hosts went on to take a lead of 160 runs in the fourth Test. Team India on Saturday roared into the final of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) following an emphatic 3-1 series win over England.
"Washington Sundar has far more natural ability than I had. I think he should be batting in top-four for his state, there is no question about that. I think he should be batting in the top four, he is good enough and he belongs there. At the same time, if he can focus on his bowling, India would have a very good number six in the future. Somebody who could get you a 60-70 and then bowl for you. That was my role at number six, and I think he can do the same role and even better," said Shastri during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
"Sundar has unbelievable composure and temperament. For someone, who was an opening batsman during the U-19 days but to see that kind of body langugage, unfazed by the best bowlers in the world during the toughest situations, as in Brisbane and Chennai. It was unreal, this innings in the fourth Test is even better than Brisbane because you are playing at home and you have a World Championship on the line. 50 adrift from the opposition and you are batting with Pant, yes you have Axar to come in next but your objective is to get closer to 205.
"These youngsters are not thinking of that, they are playing normal and fearless cricket. They are playing free cricket, and then they went on to get 360," he added.
When asked about how the fielding of India improved after the first Test against England, Shastri said: "Fielding coach is outstanding, I do not need to have a word with him. We have been in a bubble for the last five months, we have played eight Tests. In my time, probably you would play these many Tests in a year. In 70 days, they played eight Tests living in a bubble. Oppositions were England and Australia, mental fatigue would be there and you would drop catches.""We were not the only team that dropped catches, Australia dropped as many catches as us, if not more. The fact is when we had to take those catches to win Test matches. We did, that's all I want to remember, nothing else. Our fielding coach (R Sridhar) is the best in the world, understated and he is an Indian, he is one of the best," he added.
India finished as the number one team with 72.2 percentage points in the WTC points table, the factor that determined the final placings rather than total points won, following a change to the points system owing to the Covid-19 disruption.
The Black Caps were the first team to ensure a place in the final with 70 percentage points. Australia finished third with 69.2 percentage points while England ended with 61.4 percentage points at the fourth position.
The Black Caps had qualified for the WTC final following the postponement of the Test series between South Africa and Australia. In November last year, the ICC had confirmed that the WTC points system would be amended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (ANI)