Virat Kohli is the boss, support staff there to oversee preparations: Ravi Shastri

Virat Kohli is the boss, support staff there to oversee preparations: Ravi Shastri

Shastri was pleased with the team's hunger on the Sri Lankan tour.

Ravi Shastri
India’s newly appointed cricket team coach Ravi Shastri speaks during a news conference. (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

Ravi Shastri’s tenure as the head coach of the Indian team has kicked off amazingly. His first assignment, a full tour of Sri Lanka, went smoothly as his troops whitewashed the home side in all three series. He lauded the efforts of the boys for keeping the professionalism and hunger for the entire tour.

Shastri made a successful comeback to the Indian dressing room after being away for a year. He wasn’t given the coaching job last year when the CAC gave the nod ahead to Anil Kumble. The coaching job was up for grabs in June again and this time BCCI appointed Shastri for a two-year contract. The 55-year old said that the remarkable aspect of the Indian performance on the Island was that they never got complacent.

“I give full credit to the boys because the professional approach with which they have played is commendable. To maintain that level of consistency is not easy,” Shastri told India TV during an exclusive chat.

“You must have seen that when you win 3-4 matches on the trot, you become a little complacent, you can feel a drop in the motivational factor, But the kind of passion and hunger this team showed in Sri Lanka was fantastic. The best thing was that we were not dependent on one player – both in the batting and bowling department,” he added.

‘We were focussed on one match, never thought of 9-0’

India became the first team to beat a home side 9-0 across formats. Not once, barring the 2nd ODI when Dananjaya spun his magic against the Indian batsmen, they allowed Sri Lanka to get into the competition. Shastri said that the team took one game at a time rather than looking too far ahead.

“We were not thinking of winning the tour 9-0. We were just focussed on one match each. That’s why I want to give full credit to the boys for keeping their intensity intact till the last match,” he said.

Shastri lauded the contribution of skipper Kohli, who follows a professional work ethic. His hunger and undiminishing passion have inspired his teammates. The former all-rounder also outlined that with time, Kohli has become calm which is helping him and his side.

“Virat Kohli’s work ethics as captain, his professionalism, and his personality inspires the other members of the team. Kohli leads this team from the front. He knows how to adapt to different situations. He is an experienced player now, he has scored 30 international hundreds,” he said.

“You can see that Kohli has matured as a captain. He is now more comfortable, he is not anxious and much calmer. We can’t lose your patience in cricket. He will learn a lot in the next 3-4 years,” he said.

Captain is the boss

The head coach gave a straightforward reply to the captain vs coach debate. In his opinion, the captain is the boss of the side whereas the support staff ensures that the players prepare well for the cricketing assignments.

“Captain is the boss of the team. Our work as a support staff is to see the preparations, to see that the players are relaxed and that they play their natural cricket,” he said.