Former India head coach Ravi Shastri said
that there was a “gang of people” in India who wanted him to fail. Shastri was
at the helm of the Indian team from 2014 to 2021. He was not with the team for
one year in between when Anil Kumble was given the charge. In an interview with The
Guardian newspaper, Shastri said England’s newly appointed director of cricket
Rob Key will need to grow a “thick skin” like that of the Duke ball
to counter the “jealous people”.
Just like Shastri, under whose coaching India won two
consecutive Test series in Australia, Rob Key has been an acclaimed commentator
for a long time and doesn’t have a coaching degree as he tries to ease into a
new and very different role.
“I didn’t have coaching badges
[either]. Level one? Level two? **** that. And in a country like India, there
is always jealousy or a gang of people willing you to fail. I had a thick skin,
thicker than the leather of the Duke ball you use. A real solid hide.
“And you need a bloody hide over here.
Rob will develop this as he does the job, because every day you are judged. And
I am glad he has a lot of captaincy experience from his time at Kent, because
communication with the players is absolutely paramount,” Shastri was
quoted as saying by the British newspaper.
Shastri also said that national teams
across the cricketing world function in a similar fashion.
“Rob may have more work with the
domestic game but, when it comes to the national team, it is very similar. The
most important thing is getting among the players and setting a tone from the
outset: what you believe in, what you think of them and changing the mindset to
compete and win.
“You have to be bullish and brutish in
wanting to achieve that. For us, and now England, it was about setting the
challenge of winning abroad, big time. I was very firm when it came to team
culture: all the prima donnas and all that shit, that had to go out of the
window early,” Shastri explained.
The former India captain also insisted that
building a team culture is important, and that is what drove India to beat
Australia in two successive series Down Under.
“…it was also outlining how we want
to play: to be aggressive and ruthless, to up the fitness levels, to get a group
of fast bowlers to take 20 wickets overseas. And it was about attitude,
especially when playing the Aussies. I told the boys if one single expletive
comes your way, give them three back: two in our language and one in