Virat Kohli is Team India boss, I’m there to help out: Ravi Shastri – Times of India

Ravi Shastri, coach of the
Indian cricket team, has expressed immense satisfaction at the way
Virat Kohli has matured both on and off the field, critically singling out how the Indian captain’s development as batsman and human being has had a positive impact on the team’s fortunes.


We want to be the side that changed perceptions: Ravi Shastri

Always one to call a spade a spade, in an interview with a news channel Shastri took pride in his “great” equation with Kohli and how their approach to winning cricket games allowed them to work in a good space – but stressed that the captain was the one in charge of the team, and had no obligation to implement any of the coach’s suggestions.


Sky is the limit for Kohli, says Shastri

“[The] equation is great. We are similar personalities. There is an element of trust in our relationship. We are both strong minded, both play to win at all costs. We play to win. We don’t go there to do time-pass,” said Shastri, who played 80 Tests and 150 ODIs and led India in one Test. “This is not a team that is out there to fill the numbers. We want to compete. We want to take the game forward. He is pretty similar in his mindset when it comes to that and he is in-your-face kind of character. With Virat Kohli, what you see is what you get.”

Shastri admitted that there were times when two strong-minded individuals such as Kohli and himself had different approaches to various situations, but stressed that there was no discord between the two. “It’s a dialogue. See, at the end of the day the captain is the boss. He might ask me my suggestions. It doesn’t mean he has to agree with my suggestion. Because what I am looking for is for him to have his own mind and take the decision. We are there in the support staff to give suggestion which might help so there is a dialogue. I might believe in a certain combination.”

Shastri, who was team director of the Indian team from August 2014 to April 2016, was in July appointed its head coach for a two-year period until the end of the 2019 World Cup. Reflecting on what he has seen of Kohli’s development in this period, he pinpointed his shift to a calmer cricketer as beneficial to the Indian team.

“I think he’s very good. You can see that maturity coming. He is still young. He is 29. He has seven-eight years still left in his career easily. I mean, he can captain the side for at least six-seven years from here. And you can see him evolving,” said the 55-year-old. “There is an element of calmness that has come into his personality which is very good from the team point of view. Because as a captain, you want him to be in your face, you want him to be hard but at the same time he is captaining the Indian cricket team.”

He also spoke of Kohli, who this month married Bollywood actor and producer Anushka Sharma, maturing off the field. “You see, with exposure you learn. He is public property. Wherever he goes he is hounded. So he has realised as a captain, there are certain ways you are going to behave. There are certain do’s and don’ts and he has done a wonderful job,” said Shastri. “Even the way he has handled the media. I think very few people handle the media the way he does. There is no grey area. He is straight up. It’s either black or white. No arrogance there, people might mistake it at time, the perception might be that he is too straight and on your face. He is just straight.”

Asked about what separates this current team from past Indian teams, Shastri singled out an “abundance” of self-confidence. “There is hunger, there is self-belief. It’s not that the other teams didn’t have it, but this team has it in abundance and they are not shy. They have got a captain who is not shy. They have got a team director who is not shy and that spreads like a disease within the team,” he said.

“They are hungry and they know for them to be rated they have to perform overseas. And they have already done it. They have already tasted success. They know what’s it like to be able to go outside and win, like for example there has been a lot of firsts with this side… beating England after 24 years in a one-day series, whitewashing Australia in a T20I series, beating Sri Lanka back to back, twice and of course the record at home.

“Then when you look at World Cups, they have always competed, they have lost to the winners in two semi-finals, they have won the Asia Cup. They know they are there and what’s good is that the nucleus of the players is pretty much the same from what it was in 2014 and the same bunch, I see them being together for another four to five years. That makes the biggest difference. They can achieve and go places in the next three or four years.”

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