'Be ready' - Ravi Shastri reveals his chat with Virat Kohli when he took over India's coaching role
Virat Kohli has undoubtedly been the most influential Test captain India has ever had, for his aggression was unmatched. His aggressive style of captaincy enabled pacers to unleash their best irrespective of the conditions and become the match-winners, unlike the normal trend in the team, where spinners were supposed to be the wicket-takers majorly.
Under his leadership, pace bowlers wreaked havoc in conditions like Australia, South Africa and England, taking a bunch of wickets for the team. Even in home conditions, pacers went neck-to-neck with spinners and never let the opposition breathe easy.
Kohli was well supported by former Indian coach Ravi Shastri, who backed Kohli’s energetic leadership and made India one of the most successful touring teams in Test cricket. Shastri's theory to take the pitch out of the equation and snare 20 wickets reaped ample success, for Indian speedsters followed suit and were potent in all conditions.
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Kohli and Shastri combined to form the most successful captain-coach duo in Test cricket, helping India win back-to-back Test series down under and perform brilliantly in the five-match Test series in England. The Indian team were the most fearsome Test unit under their tenure, capable of beating any side anywhere.
Ravi Shastri reveals his chat with Virat Kohli when he took over India's coaching role
Ravi Shastri had a chat with Michael Atherton, where he talked about his chat with Virat Kohli before he became a full-time Test skipper. Shastri exclaimed he wanted to win Test matches and identified Kohli as “an uncut diamond”.
“There was a lot of individual brilliance, but I wanted to see team brilliance. I wanted to win, and to make Test cricket paramount and identified an uncut diamond in Virat Kohli. While (MS) Dhoni was my captain, my eye was on him (Kohli). I told him, very early in my second month: ‘It’ll take time, but watch, observe, be ready (for the captaincy).”
Shastri further added that Kohli was always ready to do the hard yards, which fitted his way of thinking. He revealed that pacers were allowed to bowl bouncers to any batter, and Kohli never shied from “looking ugly in the nets”.
“Kohli was fully engaged with Test cricket. He was passionate. He was prepared to do the hard yards and was prepared to play tough cricket, which fitted my way of thinking. When you play Australia or Pakistan, you've got to have a 'no complaints', 'no excuses' attitude. We were on the same page and wanted a battery of fast bowlers. He was ready for a scrap. He wanted to play hard. We made it a free-for-all in the nets. You were allowed to bounce the shit out of anyone. He was the first guy to embrace it. He was quite prepared to look ugly in the nets, and the mindset changed.”