Former India coach Ravi Shastri has reacted to Ravi Ashwin’s comments where he revealed how Kuldeep Yadav being labelled India’s No 1 overseas spinner in Australia had absolutely crushed him.
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Ashwin had admitted that he felt crushed when Shastri labelled Kuldeep as India’s No.1 overseas spinner after he took a five-for in Sydney.
“… I felt crushed. Absolutely crushed. We all talk about how important it is to enjoy your team-mates’ success. And I was happy for Kuldeep. I have not been able to get a five-for but he has a five-for in Australia. I know how big it is. Even when I have bowled well [at other times], I haven’t ended up with a five-for. So, I am genuinely happy for him. And it’s an extremely happy occasion, to win in Australia,” Ashwin had said.
Responding to Ashwin’s comment during the Indian Express e.Adda, Shastri said that he was ‘glad’ that his remarks had hurt Ashwin as it had made him do better.
“Ashwin did not play the Test in Sydney and Kuldeep bowled well. So, it’s fair I give Kuldeep a chance,” Shastri said. “If that hurt Ashwin, I am very happy. It made him do something different. My job is not to butter everyone’s toast. My job is to state facts without agenda.”
Shastri said as a player he would have been motivated to prove his coach wrong and not ‘go home crying.’
“If your coach challenges you, what will you do – go home crying and say I won’t come back? I, as a player, would take it as a challenge, to prove the coach wrong,” he said. “The way Ashwin bowled in 2019 and the way he has bowled in 2021 is chalk and cheese. About throwing Ashwin under the bus, he need not worry because I had told the bus driver to stop 2-3 feet short. The message to Ashwin in 2018 was that he had to be fit. He has worked on that and look how he’s bowling now. He’s world-class.”