India’s chief coach Ravi Shastri has opened up his rapport with skipper Virat Kohli by saying that he isn't a sort of person who acts like headmaster in the dressing room. Shastri was appointed as the head coach of Indian cricket team following the resignation of Anil Kumble in July 2017. Kumble had resigned stating that captain Kohli had reservations against his style of coaching.
There were plenty of talks amongst fans that it's because of Kohli that the former Team India director has got this high profile position, but such saying doesn’t seem to bother Shastri.
“Let the world say what it wants to, I’m not answerable to them. What matters to me is the work I do with the Indian team and the results. If you really want to know what me and my support staff’s input is, ask the players, ask the captain. I care a jack at what you or anyone else believes or thinks,” Shastri said while speaking to The New Indian Express.
“In cricket the captain is king and that is how it should be. My role is secondary, to guide and mentor. At this level, you can’t coach the players, only help them to bring together all the small, small pieces so that they can play with freedom and fulfill their true potential.”
“In the team meetings, who speaks the most? I do. I am the one who lays down the broad contours that the team needs to fill in. Virat is a fantastic person to work with. His work ethic is unbelievable and there is nothing he demands from his team that he cannot achieve,” added the former India captain.
Stressing on his chemistry with Kohli, the head coach said that he enjoys a healthy relationship with the captain.
“I am no headmaster. You should realise, all these players are millionaires and adults. I don’t need to mess with their lives. You can’t intrude into their private lives, or make them do things which are outside my purview. At the same time, I don’t compromise on discipline and fitness issues and in Virat, you have a captain who leads by example. How many captains in India have had the desire, ambition and discipline to achieve what he has and at the same time not be dishonest with his views?
“We have built a team that is not only fearless on the ground, but off it as well. The players are free to air their views in team meetings or individually to me and if anyone is dropped he is given the reason for it. I and Virat discuss various issues beforehand and only then present our vision to the team.” When I mention the word ‘trust’, he immediately latches on to it. “Yes, that is the word. It is because of the trust I developed with the team and captain in my first stint that they wanted me back. They not only have trust in me they also know I have no agenda. I take decisions in the best interest of the team and Indian cricket and they know that,” explained Shastri.
Earlier, Ravi had said that the current crop of Indian players are eagerly waiting for their forthcoming South Africa challenge and is keen to prove themselves away from home.
"This team is looking good and they have their priorities in place. They're hungry to prove themselves at home and away. For two years, barring the tour of Sri Lanka in July and August, we played at home, especially the whole of 2016, and while that was a job well done, these boys understand the importance of the year 2018,” Shastri was quoted as saying by Times of India.
“Frankly, we're not too hooked on to this "home and away" thing where a lot of chatter goes on about conditions that aren't too familiar. For instance, once you've played a Test match in Kolkata, how long does it take before you play another Test there? Two years? Sometimes three? It's the same as an overseas tour. So that mindset is quite passe'. In this day and age, wherever you go, it's home. You just got to walk in there and perform. It's often been argued that India are poor travellers. We want to be the team that helped change this perception and this is the year to do it," the head coach further added.