“Biggest load of bull**** I have been hearing”, Indian cricket team’s director Ravi Shastri said, dismissing reports of a rift between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli.
Shastri said the two players have utmost respect for each other and the Indian team was “one honest bunch” who believed in playing for each other.
“It’s (rift between Dhoni and Kohli) the biggest load of bull**** I have been hearing. It’s one honest bunch who believes in playing for each other. That’s why the results you have had over the last year, 70 percent of matches won,” Shastri said.
“You ought to see the respect they have for each other.
Kohli is young, flamboyant, in-your-face character. He will learn with the exposure he gets. He is only 26, let him settle into captaincy for a year or two,” he said.
Shastri spoke highly of current ODI captain Dhoni, calling him an all-time legend, who played on his own terms.
“Dhoni is an all-time legend. He is the kind of bloke who plays on his own terms. It’s best exemplified in the manner he quit Test cricket. I would have known many who would have loved to go for a 100-Test milestone,” he said.
Asked whether young players like Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have settled in the team, Shastri said their best is yet to come.
“They do carry a huge promise. All are young, in the 26- 28 age bracket. Their best is still ahead. It?s not just the figures but their style of cricket that has heartened me. They didn’t take a step back; they were in face of opposition and that warmed everyone?s heart including Australians.
“Kohli was magnificent. We lost two Tests in Australia and in both of them we aimed wins. 400 runs in each of the four Tests. And the way we stepped up in the World Cup a good team usually makes the big tournaments count. India raised the bar every time they took the field in the showpiece event.”
Shastri also spoke about his experience with a young team, his own role in shaping their careers, the need to identify the pacers for different conditions and future of Indian cricket in the interview.