In an video that Ravi Shastri shared with me on the occasion of his book launch, titled Star Gazing: The Players in My Life, the Indian head coach shared his experience about cricketers and building mutual relationships. The book was launched in London on Wednesday in the presence of the Indian cricket team.
It’s been since 2016 that Shastri had been toying with the idea of writing about cricketers — past and present – whom he admired, enjoyed playing with/against or watched and learnt from.
He said the players featured in his book are those who not only made runs and took wickets but also influenced cricket in a big way and drew in more fans with their skills and accomplishment. “There will, of course, be disagreement with the cricketers I’ve written about, and that’s okay. All selectors must be sufficiently thick-skinned and prepared to take criticism,” he told me.
Indian captain Virat Kohli also spoke about his bond with his head coach - and it was based on trust and mutual respect. He also said that his body had shaken when he listened to the former Indian allrounder giving a pep talk to the team in 2014.
“I remember in 2014, he gave us a pep talk for the first time. We were a bit down as a team and things were not happening well and he was brought in, he was brought in for the second time to set things right. In his first speech he gave, the first word he said was ‘boys’ in the voice that only he can generate. And I clearly remember, I was sitting down and my body shook because I had never heard someone speak so clearly and with so much determination and positivity,” Kohli said at the launch event.
Kohli said he and Shastri have always shared a common vision of taking Indian cricket to greater heights and that their relationship has been built on trust and mutual respect for each other. The duo has been instrumental in helping the Indian team clinch memorable victories.
“All I can say is that our working relationship has been built on trust and mutual respect on a vision that has been shared. The only focus is to take Indian cricket higher and in a better place. Both of us together along with the brilliance of the whole team and the talent we have been blessed with, I think we have been able to achieve that and it’s something we are proud of,” Kohli said.
The book looks like a must-read for every cricket fan!
- Cricket enthusiast and businessman Anis Sajan is Vice Chairman of Danube Group