Even as a player, Ravi Shastri never backed down from a challenge. Jatin Paranjpe, a former India batsman who made his Ranji Trophy debut under Shastri, recalled one such instance.
Shastri has never been known for his ability to please others. He is always direct and to the point. His no-nonsense demeanor has always been a source of pride for him.
Jatin Paranjpe on Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri has never been known for his ability to please others. Whether it was shutting down Nasser Hussain’s criticism of the Indian team or questioning the authority during the infamous ball-tampering incident involving Sachin Tendulkar during India’s 2001 tour of South Africa, Shastri has always been direct.
Shastri never backed down from a challenge, even as a player. Former India batter Jatin Paranjpe recounted one such incident. Paranjpe, a former Mumbai batter and current BCCI selector who made his Ranji Trophy debut under Shastri, recalled an incident during a match between Mumbai and Haryana during which his captain stood firm for one of his players.
“I remember an incident in a Ranji Trophy match in Haryana. Haryana coach Sarkar Talwar told Paras (Mhambrey) off. Ravi went running across to him and said, ‘If you have to talk to my player, you have to talk to me first.’ Leadership came very naturally to him. Mumbai went through a couple of games that season because Ravi was out thought the opposition. He was always confident; he was an outgoing character. He would love to sit at a bar and talk cricket for hours and hours… so very few like him around,” Paranjpe said.
Working together, Shastri and Paranjpe had a fruitful relationship. Shastri, as a coach, and Paranjpe, as national selector, both played key roles in identifying and highlighting players who turned out to be great finds. Shastri’s keen eye for spotting talent was evident in the way India performed in Australia and England in 2021, according to Paranjpe.
“When I was the national selector and Ravi the head coach of India, the very fact that Ravi and I go back a long way kind of helped create a bond of trust between the selectors and the team management. We understood the players they needed and we kind of kept pipelining, and things kept falling into place, whether it was Mohammed Siraj or Shardul Thakur or Washington Sundar,“ Paranjpe added.