In an interview with former England skipper Michael Atherton, Shastri described Kohli as an “uncut diamond,” acknowledging his innate leadership qualities and passion for Test cricket.
“I wanted to win and to make Test cricket paramount and identified an uncut diamond in Virat Kohli,” Shastri remarked, recalling his early discussions with the Indian captain.
He emphasized Kohli’s readiness to face tough challenges and his commitment to playing tough cricket, aligning with Shastri’s coaching philosophy.
“We made it a free-for-all in the nets. You were allowed to bounce the shit out of anyone. He was the first guy to embrace it; he was quite prepared to look ugly in the nets and the mindset changed,” Shastri elaborated, highlighting Kohli’s dedication to improving his game.
Addressing concerns about India’s share of ICC revenues, Shastri proposed a balanced approach, suggesting the allocation of funds to support cricketing nations in need while promoting the growth of the sport globally.
He emphasized the importance of maintaining Test cricket’s integrity and fostering strong competition among top teams.
Looking ahead, Shastri expressed optimism about the future of cricket formats, advocating for T20 cricket to serve as a catalyst for the game’s expansion into new territories.
He envisioned a football-style model with a thriving franchise circuit, complemented by ICC World Cups and Test match cricket among countries with the necessary infrastructure.
Wisden picks 2023 men’s ODI team of the year, includes 7 Indians in the XI
(With inputs from PTI)