- Shastri will join the team on the long tour of Sri Lanka starting July 19
- I’m simply going to press the refresh button and begin from where I left: Shastri
- As far as a full-time support is concerned, I will need to decide on it because it is me who will be working with them for next two years: Shastri
MUMBAI: The suspense surrounding India’s new coach has finally ended with Ravi Shastri getting the job. Shastri – a favourite among players for his communication skills – will join the team on the long tour of Sri Lanka starting July 19. He spoke toTOI on Wednesday about his plans.
You’ve finally been given the role that you justified almost two seasons ago…
My job is to carry on from where I left off. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to carry unnecessary baggage. That’s not the way I’ve lived my life and pursued my cricket. I like to live in the present and take each day as it comes. And I love challenges. The nucleus of the team is the same. The support staff is the same. It’s the set-up that I was part of until mid-2016, one that I’m familiar with. I had not applied the first time around because I had not understood the gravity of the situation.
What made you send your CV again?
I had not really wrapped my head around the gravity of the situation. There was nothing personal. I really hadn’t begun to understand the seriousness of this. But when I sat down and gave it a serious thought, I began to tell myself: here is a unit that I have been part of and enjoyed a great working relationship. I have been part of the unit that helped it become number one. I thought the onus is on me now to make it work again, in the best interests of everybody involved.
Will you forget all the drama that preceded your appointment?
I don’t even know what happened as far as the drama is concerned. I’m simply going to press the refresh button and begin from where I left.
It is a considered view that the team is comfortable working with you…
It comes with communication and clarity of thought. When the person you are dealing with is comfortable with those two aspects, things move very smoothly. Then of course, there’s a mutual respect that is very important in every working relationship. It’s always a two-way street. Players should know where to draw the line, and so should I.
What are your views of coaching at the highest level?
At the highest level, cricketers are more or less settled. So is it more to do with working on their mental strength, helping build their confidence, helping them stay organised in their daily activities as against tinkering with their style of play. It’s not about ‘tutoring’ them about everything and telling them what and what not to do. There’s very little coaching at the highest level. It’s about fine-tuning and mentoring, about effective communication.
A lot has been spoken about how it’s the captain who should be calling the shots…
Absolutely. It’s always the captain’s team and it is the leader who calls the shots. That’s how it has always worked. A coach’s role is to stay in the background and let the onus be on the players.
A lot of words have been exchanged between you and certain members of theCricket Advisory Committee (CAC)…
I’m a firm believer in destiny. I have always believed that what goes around comes around. Let’s just concentrate on what’s ahead and not what’s left behind.
You’ve worked with this support staff…
The support staff has been magnificent. They have been there from day one and have done an excellent job. I will t have to sit with the authorities to figure out a few things going forward from here, especially concerning the support staff. There are a lot of tours coming up and if I’m responsible for working with this set-up 200 days a year, then it’s me who should be working on my reserves, no?
Let’s see. I’ll first speak with Virat and Sanjay (Bangar) about this and then we can take a call. All I’ll say right now is I am entitled to take a call on the support staff, given that I’ll be working closely with them over the next two years.
On views on Zaheer Khan as bowling coach and Rahul Dravid as overseas batting coach?
The BCCI can certainly bring in guys like Zaheer and Dravid as consultants from time to time. Their experience is invaluable. But as far as a full-time support is concerned, I will need to decide on it because it is me who will be working with them for next two years.
There are some serious challenges coming up for this Indian team over the next two years -tough overseas tours, and then, of course, there’s the 2019 World Cup…
This team has potential to thrive on those challenges and play the brand of cricket that very few Indian teams have played in the past. It’s a young bunch that wants to prove itself. The road ahead is a challenging. But that’s exactly where things get interesting.
You’ve never been known to be authoritarian in your approach…
Make no mistake about that. There’s plenty of it and I can make it known when required. But there’s no point in showing authority when it’s not required and there’s a sense of bonding hat works better.
You’ve always led your life with a ‘work hard, party harder’ approach. Would you recommend that to others too?
Absolutely. Why should I change anyone’s style, or for that matter, why should anyone change his own style of doing things? As long as there’s a level of commitment, the hard yards are being put in and results are showing, why shouldn’t there be fun?.
Source: Times Of India