'Ravi Shastri would say things that hurt you, pinched you, drove you mad': India cricketer on ex-coach's unique tactics
A star India player has recalled how as coach, Ravi Shastri would go the additional mile and use his own unique tactics to motive the player and rile him up in the right way.
Ravi Shastri was subjected to a lot of criticism when he came on board as India head coach and even through his tenure, there was no shortage of people frowning upon some of his decision. Shastri's outspoken nature and certain debatable comments became a fodder for memes and jokes. But say what you will about the polarising Shastri, under him the Indian team became a force to reckon with. With former captain Virat Kohli, Shastri transformed the Indian team by making it the most formidable touring team and assembled a pace battery that could wreak havoc. That India were able to defeat Australia for back-to-back series defeats on their soil, draw a Test series in England and reach the final of the inaugural World Test Championship could not have been possible had their pacers not fared well away from home.
Under the Shastri-Kohli regime, India's five-pronged pace attack featuring Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishan Sharma, Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav became India's strongest force overseas. Shastri's baritone voice and no-nonsense attitude always pushed the players to put in just that bit of extra effort, and the result for there for everyone to see. In fact, India pacer Ishant Sharma has recalled how Shastri would go the additional mile and use his own unique tactics to motive the player and rile him up in the right way.
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"Ravi bhai has had a lot of impact in our growth. The biggest was that he would always have positive things to say, even if we endured a poor match. Another one of his strengths is that he knows how to bring the best out of a player. Like with me, he knows that if he has to make me give by 100 percent, I need to get angry. So he would say things that hurt you, pinch you. It drove you mad," Ishant said on the Cricbuzz Specials Show 'The Rise of New India'
Ishant's career, that saw him become only the second India pacer to play 100 Tests, can be divided into two halves – one that saw him being a promising youngster who faded over time and the other being that of a storied comeback. But at a time when the management was inclined towards trying out youngsters, Shastri and former India bowling coach persisted with Ishant, almost injecting fresh lease of life into his career. A bowler as tall as Ishant had more to give, which he why the bowler experienced a second-coming of sorts. His average, strike-rate improved significantly with Ishant appearing an entirely-new cricketer all over again. All this because Shastri had a method to his madness.
"He sensed what each player needed to hear and work things accordingly to channel that emotion. That's how he used to deal with an individual. However, after the match was over, he would get back to being a totally different person. He said things like 'Forget if you've had a bad match. Focus on the next game," Ishant added.