Former India fielding coach R Sridhar on Friday (December 10) showered rich praise on Ravi Shastri, terming the ex-India head coach as an outstanding man manager.
Sridhar worked closely with Shastri and endured both good and bad days on the field. India were bundled out for 36 in the Adelaide Test last year but they fought back to win the four-match series 2-1. They were also leading the Test series 2-1 in England before the final game was postponed due to COVID-19 scare in the visiting camp.
In an exclusive chat with PTI, Sridhar, who spent seven years in the Indian dressing room, reflected on his stint.
"It was a wonderful opportunity to learn. To me, as a coach, a bad day is a great coaching opportunity. Good days are not great coaching opportunities but bad days are," Sridhar said.
"When I say coaching opportunity, it's about understanding the person, striking a nice relationship with the players, opportunity to coach them technically and mentally if required. You get to know about player and team. Basically how you are on your bad day, says what you are as a team. This team was outstanding in terms of resilience,” he added.
Sridhar also revealed a fascinating conversation Shastri had with former India coach Greg Chappell.
“Recently, Greg Chappell called up and asked Ravi Bhai, ‘How the hell do you bounce back after so many losses?’ That’s a benchmark for this team. Every bad day was harnessed like a gold mine.”
Sridhar highlighted that the members of the Indian support staff had the freedom to have differences of opinion under Shastri.
"I believe the difference of opinion is a must among coaches to arrive at the best conclusion. We always had differences of opinion -- whether it was me, Ravi Bhai, Bharat sir, or Sanjay (Bangar) earlier and then Vikram (Rathour). But all of us were working towards the same goal.
"There is a subtle difference. We wanted the same thing for the team. Two might agree and one disagree on something. But having had that conversation on different viewpoints, we make a decision that's best suited for Indian cricket. We never had that feeling that our viewpoints were rejected.
"With Ravi Bhai, you could always go and tell him, this is what is happening now, may be you should change the batting order, maybe talking to Sanjay or Vikram, backed by data, to tactically stay ahead in the game," he explained.
R Sridhar also threw light on Shastri’s coaching philosophy and said: "Leadership qualities and man-management skills. These are foremost of his (Shastri) qualities that come to mind. He could get things done whether it was from the CoA then or after that BCCI."
"He had a great stature and that was required. He was a players' man and knew what players wanted and helped them remain in that space. A good leader and outstanding Man Manager."