Ravi Shastri is going to make a fantastic coach: Matthew Hayden

Hayden

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Hayden believes that Shastri will make a fantastic coach after being a great director of cricket
  • He feels Kohli embodies the spirit of the new wave of players who have come up in India
  • The former Australia opener rubbishes the decision of stipulating the dimension of the bat

CHENNAI: Matthew Hayden has a deep connect with India right from his playing days. He was a huge hit during his three years with Chennai Super Kings and the Aussie legend loves being in this part of the country.

He was in Chennai on Tuesday for the promotion of the Tamil Nadu Premier League when TOI caught up with him. During an exclusive interaction, he spoke about the recent developments in Australian cricket, the appointment of Ravi Shastri as the new Indian coach and a lot more.

Excerpts:

Australian cricket has been hit by the payment crisis. How do you react to a situation like this where tours and being cancelled because of it?
It is regrettable that an ‘A’ tour has been cancelled because there are very few opportunities for players between domestic and international level. For me – there are two primary stakeholders – one the fan and two the players. Now the fans need to see cricket and the players need to be remunerated appropriately. The administrators are in a position where they are not the only employers any more either. They need to be realistic about protecting their assets and they also need to attract players to the sport. I can’t see why they are at loggerheads and it needs to be sorted out soon.

There has been a lot of debate in Indian cricket about Ravi Shastri’s appointment as coach. What is your take on it?
I don’t know the inner workings of Indian cricket but what I can tell you is that Ravi Shastri will make a fantastic coach after being a great director of cricket. He is an astute judge of the game and has always been a cricketer at his core. I have done commentary with him and I know that he is a strong communicator, which is critical for the coach’s role. He can be the go-to man in different situations and he understands that when there is a crisis, it has to be addressed. He will also be backed up by the team and I am sure Ravi will be a great replacement for Anil Kumble

Do you think a coach should be allowed to choose his entire support staff, as has been the case with Shastri?
The answer is not simple because the coach is also an appointed role. That’s why I am not sure if a coach should have complete autonomy about choosing his entire support-staff – there should be a panel of individuals which includes the captain – who makes the decision. The reality is no one is going to 100 per cent agree. But yes, the coach should have a major say but I cannot put a percentage on how much. I know when Darren Lehmann came in as the Australian coach, he was very much like that about appointments, but gradually I have seen that has eroded.

There have been a few questions asked in the recent past about the way Virat Kohli has handled things as captain. What’s your take on him?

Is it? For me, there’s no debate that he is the man for the future. I have always been a fan of his forthright nature – he embodies the spirit of the new wave of players who have come up in this country. On big days, I know Kohli is the man who would stand up – his performances, his leadership ability, his understanding of the game – everything make him the man to bank on.

 

You were part of the Australian team when Adam Gilchrist suddenly decided to retire after dropping a catch during the India series. Do you think the time has come for MS Dhoni to take a similar call?
The life of a cricketer is like a glass full of water and coins are being dropped into it. Then comes a moment when the water spills at the drop of one more coin – Gilchrist’s was like that. If MS feels that moment has come, I think he will go. I still see him as a player who can change games and he is not the one who will hang around when he believes it’s done.

You are one for innovations. Do you think stipulating the dimension of the bat is a step in the right direction?

It’s rubbish – it’s the strategy of the batsman that is more empowering than the bat. If you want to bring more balance, don’t make the grounds small. There is almost a 10-metre gap between the outfield finishing and the actual size of the ground – which is ridiculous. If the grounds are bigger, there is always a greater chance of getting caught at the deep and that would make the batsman think.

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