Sports, Cricket

If my comments about Kuldeep hurt Ashwin, I’m very happy: Shastri

Published : 24 Dec 2021 08:45 PM

Former India coach Ravi Shastri is pleased that his statement about Kuldeep Yadav becoming India's No.1 overseas spinner spurred R Ashwin to “do something different.”

Ashwin had injured himself in the opening Test of the Australia tour in Adelaide in 2018, and by the time the fourth Test came in Sydney, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav were India's spinners. Kuldeep returned 5 for 99 in that drawn fixture, helping India to their first-ever Test series win Down Under.

While speaking to the Cricket Monthly recently, Ashwin said that he was “absolutely crushed” by Shastri’s comments. On Thursday, speaking on the Indian Express’ eAdda, Shastri responded to Ashwin's statement.

“One thing as a coach, let me tell you... my job out there is not to butter everyone's toast,” Shastri said. 

“My job is, without agenda, to state facts and say the way it is. Ashwin didn't play the Test match in Sydney. Kuldeep played, took a five-for, and bowled brilliantly. So, it was only fair that I give the young kid who is probably playing his first or second Test match overseas...and he bowled magnificently in that Test match. He bowled as well as any spinner overseas in that Test match. So, I said the way he’s bowled here, there's every chance he could be India’s No.1 [spin] bowler overseas.

“Now if that hurt some other player, then I would say good. In hindsight, I’m glad I made that statement and Ashwin has made this statement because if it hurt him and he was upset, I’m glad the way he went about his job. I’m the kind of coach who will want a player to go inside and say ‘I’m going to show his coach I'm going to teach him a lesson and show him what I’m all about’.

“So, if it upset him, I'm very happy. If it made him do something different, which he did, I'm very happy because the way he was bowling in 2019 and the way he bowled in 2021 in Australia was chalk and cheese. I’ll go for the cheese any day. And by the way being thrown under the bus, Ash need not worry because I'd already spoken to the bus driver and told him to stop two feet short.”