Shastri will join the team starting with the long tour of Sri Lanka starting July 19. He spoke to TOI on Wednesday (July 12) about his plans ahead, what makes him click with the cricketers, and if there’s baggage from the past he needs to deal with.
What made you send your CV once again? The general feeling one got was you weren’t very keen to “stand in the queue” once again…
I had not really wrapped my head around the gravity of the situation. 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. Having been part of the unit that helped it become number one, 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.
What are your views of coaching at the highest level?
At the highest level, cricketers are more or less settled. So it is more to do with working on their mental strength, helping build their confidence, helping them stay organized in their daily activities as against tinkering with their style of play, not ‘tutoring’ them about everything and telling them what and what not to do. There’s very little coaching at the highest level, be it any sport. It’s more to do with fine-tuning and mentoring. And more importantly, as I said earlier, it’s about effective communication. That’s what it’s all about.
You’ve worked with this support staff in the past… Your views?
The support staff has been magnificent. They have been there from day one and have done an excellent job with the team. I will have to sit with the authorities to figure out a few things going forward from here, especially concerning the support staff. There are a lot of tours coming up and if I’m responsible for working with this set-up 200 days a year, then it’s me who should be working on my reserves, no? Let’s see. I’ll first speak with Virat and Sanjay (Bangar) about this and then we can take a call. All I’ll say right now is I am entitled to take a call on the support staff given that I’ll be working closely.
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Your views on Zaheer Khan and Rahul Dravid as consultants?
BCCI can certainly bring in guys like Zaheer and Dravid as consultants from time to time. Their experience is invaluable. But as far as a full-time support is concerned, I will need to decide on the team because it is me who will be working with them over the next two years.