Jun 3, 2022, 10:21 IST

Shastri said 'If you want to talk to my player, you have to talk to me first': Ex-BCCI selector!!


Consider Ravi Shastri. What thoughts come to mind? Is he a graceful batter, a versatile all-rounder, a dynamo in the commentary box, or simply one of India's most successful coaches? While Shastri is all of those things, there is one word that distinguishes him from the others: maverick. Shastri has never been known for his ability to please others. He is always direct and to the point. His no-nonsense demeanour has always been a source of pride for him. Whether it was shutting down Nasser Hussain's criticism of the Indian team or questioning the authority during the infamous ball tampering incident involving Sachin Tendulkar during India's 2001 tour of South Africa, the authority was called into question.

Shastri never backs down from a challenge, even as a player. Former India batter Jatin Paranjpe recounted one such incident. Paranjpe, a former Mumbai batter and current BCCI selector who made his Ranji Trophy debut under Shastri, recalled an incident during a match between Mumbai and Haryana during which his captain stood firm for one of his players.

"I remember an incident in a Ranji Trophy match in Haryana. Haryana coach Sarkar Talwar told Paras (Mhambrey) off. Ravi went running across to him and said, 'If you have to talk to my player, you have to talk to me first.' Leadership came very naturally to him. Mumbai went through a couple of games that season because Ravi out thought the opposition. He was always confident; he was an outgoing character. He would love to sit at a bar and talk cricket for hours and hours... so very few like him around," Paranjpe told Rediff.

Ravi Shastri has always been a maverick on and off the field. (Getty)

Shastri and Paranjpe had a fruitful association working together. With Shastri as coach and Paranjpe as national selector, the two had a huge role in earmarking and outlining players who ended up being great finds. Paranjpe lauded Shastri's keen eye for spotting talent which was evident in the way India played in Australia and England in 2021.

"When I was the national selector and Ravi the head coach of India, the very fact that Ravi and I go back a long way kind of helped create a bond of trust between the selectors and the team management. We understood the players they needed and we kind of kept pipelining, and things kept falling into place, whether it was Mohammed Siraj or Shardul Thakur or Washington Sundar," added Paranjpe.