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I am not surprised one bit with the performance of India: Ravi Shastri

Ravi Shastri (AFP PHOTO / MARK GRAHAM
/ AFP / MARK GRAHAM (Photo credit should read MARK GRAHAM/AFP/Getty Images)

Ravi Shastri is arguably one of the most popular commentators in world cricket right now and his straightforward approach and no beating about the bush makes him one of the most well-sought commentators of all time. His harsh words might not go down well with all the people depending on which side of the fence you are in. “Someone plays brilliantly, you go with the flow (as a commentator) and someone bats a like a tweak, you let him know,” Shastri was quoted as saying by the Deccan Herald on Tuesday.

Shastri who expressed his disappointment with the way things panned out when Team India’s head coach was announced last year, said he has moved on in life and no longer missed being part of the national team set-up. “There is a span for everything, I enjoyed playing for 13-14 years which I did,” he noted. “When I was with the team as team director, (I wanted to be there) for two years or two and half years maximum. That’s your shelf life there, especially if you are someone who has been in the media.”

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Shastri took the charge of Indian team in the middle of the England tour in 2014 after BCCI sent him an SOS following India’s disappointing performance in the Test series. With the retirement of stalwarts like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, India was in a turmoil but Shastri saw the team through during the difficult phase and stood beside them during the transition period.

“They accepted their mistakes and they realised there was work to be done,” he remarked on the reasons for the change in team’s fortunes. “There was no shortcut, they took the knock on the chin and what’s come out of that is total self-belief. There is ability and total trust within the team; there is a belief that they can beat anyone, anywhere in the world,” he further added.

Also read: Virat Kohli tries off spin ahead of the Hyderabad Test

India’s 3-0 series win against South Africa late in 2015 was reckoned to have been achieved on rank turners. Their most recent 4-0 victory against England, however, did not give scope for anyone to come out with excuses. This was also for the first time that India allowed the technology of DRS to be used in India for the first time on a trial basis.

“I am not surprised one bit with the performance (of India). I would have expected nothing less. But from an English standpoint, they have no room for any excuse. The pitches were great when it turned it turned for both sides; when pitches were good, they were good for both. DRS was there, so they can’t complain about that as well. They had to accept the fact and go home.”

Shastri who is a great admirer of Virat Kohli said that the flamboyant Delhi lad has matured a lot in his captaincy role. “He is a very excitable character but I like the way he has tempered himself down to the demands and responsibilities of a captain of India. The way he has handled the media, the way he has handled the tough situations… It’s very easy to lose your cool, you can see all that. And most importantly, he just thrives on captaincy and responsibility,” he said.

Shastri also feels that stepping down from India’s limited overs captaincy has actually helped MS Dhoni who was brilliant in the limited overs series against England. India won both ODI and T20I series by 2-1 margins. “He is enjoying his cricket, you can see it. He is enthusiastic, he knows he doesn’t have to come and sit in front of you for the press conferences after the game. He can have a blast now. I think the biggest contribution will be to the youngsters and Virat when it comes to captaincy.”

Also read: Sagarika Ghatge opens up on her alleged relationship with Zaheer Khan

Despite mentioning that India will the overwhelming favourites for the Test series against Australia, Shastri expected the Aussies to pose a bigger threat than the Englishmen. “I see Australia coming here on a good run in the last two months. A lot of their top-order batsmen have played in India in the IPL, I see them being a little more aggressive when it comes to batting. A little more positive. So it will be interesting,” Shastri concluded.

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