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Asia Cup debacle — a wake up call: Shastri

By Our Sports Reporter

BANGALORE, AUG. 11. Ravi Shastri termed India's below-par performance in the recent Asia Cup at Sri Lanka as a `wake-up' call. Shastri spoke to the media after unveiling the ICC Champions Trophy at a function organised by the tournament's official global sponsor — LG Electronics India Pvt. Ltd., here on Wednesday afternoon. The ICC Champions Trophy will be held in England during September.

"The performance was disappointing to say the least. I guess `rusty' is the right word. The victories in Pakistan is history, it is over. It is time to move on. This team has the talent and ability and I think they can do well in the ICC Champions Trophy in England. The key is the September 19th match against Pakistan at Birmingham. If we can get past them, then we will be dangerous and can go all the way to the top," Shastri said.

Shastri however termed the team that he was part of — from 1983 to 1986 — as the best Indian team, especially in terms of victories notched overseas. "We won the World Cup in 1983, the World Championship in 1985 and in-between we won the Asia Cup in 1984. The current team has the potential but they need to be consistent in big matches. There is no point being second best," he said.

Shastri defends Murali

Shastri reserved his strongest opinions on the Muralitharan issue. "If Muralitharan had just picked 25 wickets then no one would have bothered but now he has got 500 plus wickets and that ruffles and tickles a few people. And he is an Asian. I would not say that he is absolutely above board but I think his off-break is clean and as for the `doosra' no one can bowl that delivery with a clean action but then why is only Murali being targeted? And then you have these ten degrees of tolerance for fast bowlers and just five degrees for spinners! Why have different rules?," asked Shastri.

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