Team India is on the look out for establishing a core for the 2019 ICC World Cup squad and coach Ravi Shastri has said that only players with immaculate fielding standards will be able to make it to the tournament.
Shastri, in an interview with Times of India said that India needs to have the "best fielding XI" at the tournament. The coach's comments are in sync with that of chief selector, who echoed similar sentiments while speaking tothe media recently after the announcement of India's squad for the Sri Lanka series.
"When the time comes for India to field a side for the 2019 50-over World Cup, we should have the best fielding XI in the world walking out. Only the fittest of the lot will survive and thrive going forward and that's right up there in the list of priorities," Shastri told Times of India.
Shastri, who started his second stint with the team with a 3-0 whitewash of a beleaguered Sri Lankan team, said that supremacy in Test cricket is as important as doing well in ODIs and planning ahead for the World Cup.
"The World Cup has its own space that needs to be respected. And while that remains the goal, a fact also remains that if India need to show their real might in the game, then achieving results in Test cricket is the pinnacle.
"Now, these are two different sets of goals altogether. Both need to be pursued with equal amount of zeal and yet, both require a completely different level of preparation. Look at countries like England and Australia and how they perceive the game. Playing top-notch Test cricket and excelling in it is what they want to do. World Cups keep coming every four years and of course, we all understand its importance from a global and fan perspective. But if this team really has to be tested, then it's Test cricket and we have plenty of it coming up next year," Shastri said.
India will now take on Sri Lanka in a five-match ODI series and a single T20 international before taking on Australia in a limited overs series in September.