'Ravi Shastri took the sheet and tore it into pieces; 'Don't dish out nonsense'' | Crickit
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'Ravi took the sheet, tore it into pieces...': Ex-IND coach reveals Shastri blasting official for 'dishing out nonsense'

By, New Delhi
Feb 16, 2023 12:53 AM IST

R Sridhar, the former India fielding coach, in his book revealed an incident when a directive laid out by a Cricket Australia official did not sit well with the then-coach Ravi Shastri.

Cricket in the time of Covid-19 was one of the toughest times in Indian cricket. The two-week isolation periods, coupled with unlimited restrictions made life extremely difficult players, more so when they toured abroad. This was brought to light during India's tour of Australia in 2020/21, when the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was sweeping the world. Between the second Test in Melbourne and the third in Sydney, plenty of drama had unfolded with regard to Covid-19 protocols. In December of 2020, a Covid outbreak hit Sydney, promoting tighter restrictions in New South Wales. Cricket Australia mulled the possibility of swapping the venues of the third and fourth Tests or staging both the matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground. And stuck in the middle of this chaos was the Indian cricket team.

Ravi Shastri wasn't having any of CA's 'nonsense' (Getty)
Ravi Shastri wasn't having any of CA's 'nonsense' (Getty)

With players already weighed down mentally with being isolated in their rooms and respective spaces, R Sridhar, the former India fielding coach, in his book 'Coaching Beyond', revealed an incident when a directive laid out by a Cricket Australia official did not sit well with the then-coach Ravi Shastri. The players were coming off an intense 14-day period of training in Blacktown, but just when the Indian team was about to embark on their next destination, a new set of rules came their way, and Shastri wasn't going to have any of it.

Also Read: India become No. 1 across formats after displacing Australia in Tests, captain Rohit creates history, Ashwin rises

"We boarded buses to move to the InterContinental Hotel, under the impression that once we finished our 14-day quarantine, we would be treated as Australian residents for the rest of the tour. We had been told that the same rules applied to those who lived in that country would apply to us, which meant we could go out for a walk or coffee. (Sydney was not under lockdown at the time). There were certain understandable restrictions, such as avoiding large groups and indoor dining, but one could go to an outdoor restaurant or for a walk by the beach," Sridhar wrote.

"Soon as we settled in our seats, the chief security officer assigned to us by CA pulled out a sheet of paper and a microphone. Howard Bier, the ex-commissioner of Melbourne, began 'Okay, guys, I am just announcing the do's and don'ts. Once we reach the hotel, you will notice an app on a placard. Everyone must scan that app and enter the location when they are going out. You cannot go out without informing the chief security officer. You cannot hail a cab. You cannot go in a friend's car'".

It was at that moment when Shastri lost his cool, and addressed the manner in which only he could – bold and abrasive. Shastri. All this was way before the Test series began. As per the initial tour schedule, the ODIs and T20Is would proceed the Test series but due to the pandemic, the itinerary was revised. The first ODI would be played in Sydney, but two days before the series opener, Bier encountered a side of Shastri he thought he would never see.

"Having patiently listened to this monologue, Ravi got up from his seat in the front row, took the sheet from Bier, tore it into 4 pieces and said, 'Howard, cut this and sit down. We were told that once these 14 days were over, we'd have the same rights as the Australian citizens. As you are dishing out this nonsense, the BCCI is talking to CA. Do not hand over this piece of paper to any of my players. Don't board any other bus to make this announcement. I am not going to be a prisoner in my own room any more, not when life is going on as per normal in Sydney. I am going out for a beer this evening; you can join me if you like'. Bier was taken aback. He could do nothing but look on in scarcely disguised disapproval when Ravi, Arun, Vikram and I sauntered to the bar later in the evening for a few beers," added Sridhar.

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