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Shastri: India happy to face Stokes in Nottingham

16 August 2018 16:54

India head coach Ravi Shastri says his team would have no problems at all with England selecting Ben Stokes for the third Test at Trent Bridge.

Stokes was added to England's squad on Tuesday, having been cleared of affray at Bristol Crown Court following a six-day trial that forced him to miss the second Test at Lord's.

The all-rounder could still be the subject of sanctions from the Cricket Discipline Commission, who will convene to discuss the incident outside a nightclub that led to Stokes being arrested and the details that emerged in his trial.

Yet Shastri insists India have no issue with potentially facing Stokes in Nottingham from Saturday.

"We focus on cricket. He's a terrific cricketer," said Shastri in a news conference.

"We like to play against top cricketers, it's as simple as that. He's cleared by the courts - what's the reason for him not to play?

"If I was in England's position, I would have wanted him to play."

Shastri refused to reveal whether India would hand a debut to wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant at Trent Bridge, but confirmed skipper Virat Kohli was "much better and improving by the day" following the back trouble that forced him to miss part of the second Test.

India are 2-0 down in the series after being thrashed at Lord's, but Shastri is determined to remain positive and leapt to the defence of Ajinkya Rahane - one of several batsmen to have struggled in the series so far.

"I don't think it's fair to single out any one player," Shastri added. "Batsmen from both teams have struggled when the occasion demands. It's a case of mental resolve, how you put mind over matter, and mental discipline will be the key as far as batsmen are concerned.

"He [Rahane] is one of our pillars. He'll remain one of our pillars."

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