Ravi Shastri will go down in Indian cricket history as one of the best coaches the country has ever had. During his tenure, India rose to the top of the Test cricket rankings, dominated teams from all over the world in their own backyard, and achieved new heights.
After an unpleasant dispute between Virat Kohli and the then-head coach, Anil Kumble, his term as a full-time head coach began in 2017. The former India all-rounder, on the other hand, had been a part of the leadership group since 2014.
Ravi Shastri reveals how BCCI’s ‘7 missed calls’ changed his world overnight
Former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri’s more than four-year tenure as head coach of the Indian team will go down in cricketing history as one of the most illustrious. Shastri may not have an ICC trophy to show like John Wright or Gary Kirsten, but his historic Test series victories in Australia (twice) and England (India lead the series 2-1 when the last match was postponed) cemented his place in the top tier.
Between 2017 and November 2021, India had remarkable success in red-ball cricket under Shastri’s leadership. Shastri was the squad’s first head coach, but he had previously served as Team India’s team director on two occasions.
When asked about the circumstances surrounding his selection as team director in 2014, Shastri stated that he had had “no warning.”
“I had no warning. I was commentating at the Oval during India’s  tour of England and came off air to find six or seven missed calls. ‘Seven bloody calls? What’s happened here?’. [The BCCI] just said: ‘We want you to take over, starting tomorrow, at any cost.’ I told them I’d have to speak to my family and commercial partners but they just said they would sort all that out. And like that I was straight in from the commentary box. You’ll see when I joined the setup [during the ODIs], I was still in jeans and loafers. Instantly my job changed,” Ravi Shastri said.
“We also had slingers [coaches with dogsticks] in the nets smashing the ball in at 160kph from 16 yards. Guys had no choice. There was no dodging, I’d stand behind the stumps to make sure of that. No matter who the person was, he had to go through that. The slingers would seriously let it rip and guys would look ugly. But you are meant to look ugly in the nets. In England you have to grind and earn your runs,” he added.
Some of Shastri’s decisions as head coach may have been controversial, but the positive improvement he brought to the team is noteworthy.
“The same with the bowlers, we told them to stick in because there is a five-wicket session at any given time in England and at Lord’s and the Oval this decided the result. And we knew winning in Australia or England wasn’t coming with spin, it was fast bowlers, guys with aggression like Jasprit Bumrah. We were instrumental in making sure that guy played Test cricket. You don’t even need express pace, you just need attitude,” he concluded.