Shastri: ‘It’s always the captain’s team’

“A coach’s role, effectively speaking, is to stay in the background and let the onus be on the players”

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India head coach Ravi Shastri has made it clear that captain Virat Kohli will be the authoritative figure of the national team.

Shastri will let Kohli take charge while he and the rest of the coaching staff ensure that the players are fit and performing to the best of their abilities.

“It’s always the captain’s team and it is the leader who calls the shots,” Shastri toldĀ Times of India. “That’s how it has always worked. A coach’s role, effectively speaking, is to stay in the background and let the onus be on the players. The coach and support staff’s role is to get the players in the most brilliant frame of mind to execute things and if done effectively, it brings enjoyment to the player’s game.”

Shastri replaced Anil Kumble as head coach after the latter resigned due to his relationship with Kohli being “untenable”.

However, Shastri did not initially apply for the job when it was advertised prior to the Champions Trophy. Instead, he put his name forward when the BCCI decided to reopen the application process after Kumble stepped down.

“I had not really wrapped my head around the gravity of the situation,” he said. “There was nothing personal. I really hadn’t begun to understand the seriousness of this. But when I sat down and gave it a serious thought, I began to tell myself: Here is a unit that I have been part of and enjoyed a great working relationship with.

“Having been part of the unit that helped it become No. 1, I thought the onus is on me now to make it work again, in the best interests of everybody involved. That’s when I knew it’s time for me to apply again.”

Given that he was India’s team director from 2014 to 2016, Shastri revealed that he doesn’t have to waste time getting to know everyone and can start implementing his plans right away.

“I’m simply going to press the refresh button and begin from where I left,” he added. “I know what I’m stepping into, players have an idea of what’s coming, so that ticks the first box.

“Just to give you an idea, I won’t be spending the first six to eight months in the job warming up to the team. That had already been accomplished in my previous stint. This time, it’s going to be about getting on the job from day one.”

Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan were appointed as the batting and bowling consultants respectively for overseas tours. When asked about it, Shastri admitted that he is looking forward to working closely with the duo, but also made it clear that he would have the final say when it came to support staff appointments.

“In fact, even in my last stint, I had asked people like Rahul and Zaheer to come every now and then,” Shastri toldĀ Mid-Day. “I even asked Sachin [Tendulkar] to come at some stage and have a chat with the boys. I always believe that you need a fresh set of ideas. Your core team is meant to do the job for 200 days a year and every now and then, whenever you get some fresh inputs through with the quality of players like Zak (Zaheer) or Rahul it can only be good.

“Tomorrow it could be an excellent fielding coach. What stops Jonty Rhodes from coming and having a chat with the boys? Overseas, I could pick the brains of a fast bowler who has bowled very well in those conditions – say in South Africa or Australia. It’s fresh inputs that might trigger off something. I am always open to such kind of ideas.”

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