Shastri Would Do Well To Keep His Mouth Shut

Kuldeep Yadav
Image used for representation only. Source: Jansatta

Indian coach Ravi Shastri’s assertion that Kuldeep Yadav will be the Number One spinner abroad is stupid to say the least.

It does disservice to the young Yadav and also to India’s premier spinner Ravinchandran Ashwin. But, such statements are typical of Shastri who likes to put his foot in the mouth without realising the implications of such pronouncements.

Just because Yadav took five wickets in an innings against a weak Australian side does not mean that he has catapulted to the top of spinners’ list.

Arguments that the rest of the cricket world cannot fathom the mysteries of unorthodox leg spin are total rubbish. There have been quite a few bowlers in Tests earlier, the most recent one being Paul Adams of South Africa.

Rapid use of technology has also changed the way cricket is being played. Players spend hours studying clips of other players to hone their skills and play better.

Without taking away anything from Yadav, he will soon realise that playing Test cricket is no bed of roses.

He will have to put in the tough yards as the opposition gets wiser to his wiles.  Yadav has proved his worth so far in his short career and a bright future lies ahead of him.

Poor Ashwin.  With 342 wickets in 65 Tests, he is still treated in a shabby way by some of the people in authority.

There is always a question mark about him whenever he goes abroad as some stupid scribes feel that he will only be a complete bowler if he succeeds on foreign soil.

Unfortunately, Indians are statistically-minded and they give no room to the conditions of the match. There are also some so-called experts who question Ashwin’s injury during the tours of England and Australia recently.

Lapping up statistics is the Indian psyche and many scribes use that to downplay achievements.

The recent tirade against Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a shining example. There were huge articles saying that Dhoni is a has-been and that he has lost his skills as a finisher.

What was not conveniently taken into account was that Dhoni had to build the innings after a top order collapses in Australia. The question was what were the other batsmen doing?

Thankfully, Dhoni proved his mettle in the subsequent series against New Zealand and ended up as Man of the Series.

One has to cast the mind to last year’s series in England to realise the kind of narrative Shastri and captain Virat Kohli came up with. Some of them were brash and immature.  They were left shamefaced after India lost the series.

All-time great off spinner and the highest wicket taker in Test cricket, Muttiah Muralitharan rated Ashwin as the best off spinner in the world at the moment. Murali also pointed out that he too had more wickets at home than abroad.

If Murali says it, there is a lot of truth in it. It’s time we appreciated Ashwin, Dhoni and others instead of demoralising them with rubbish statements.

Shastri would do well to keep his opinions to himself instead creating unnecessary controversies.  Indian cricket is above everything or anyone.


#All views expressed in this column are the authors and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them

Babu Kalyanpur

Babu Kalyanpur, ( Consulting Editor) has rich experience in both sports and business journalism. Babu has led news desks in Pune and Bahrain and writes extensively on his passion, sports and business besides current affairs and matters of importance to Pune.

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