What's the story?
Head coach Ravi Shastri has shed light on his solid working relationship with Indian captain Virat Kohli. Alluding to the significance of mutual trust between one another, the erstwhile all-rounder also dismissed the prevailing notion that two strong minded individuals cannot form a durable bond.
In a candid chat with CNN-News18, Shastri affirmed, " Equation (with Kohli) is great. We are similar personalities (and) there is an element of trust in our relationship. We are both strong minded and both play to win at all costs. We don’t go there to do time-pass. This is not a team that is out there to fill up the numbers. We want to compete. We want to take the game forward."
The 55-year old added, "He is pretty similar in his mindset when it comes to that and he is in your face kind of character. With Virat Kohli what you see is what you get. He knows if he asks me a question, he will get the answer. There is no beating around the bush."
After the relationship between Kohli and the legendary Anil Kumble broke down irreparably, Shastri succeeded the former leg-spinner as Indian team's head coach in July. Since his appointment, India have notched 20 victories as against five defeats across all three formats of the game.
The heart of the matter
When asked if there have been differences in opinion between the two of them, Shastri pointed to the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy. While he was then watching the action from the commentary box, the veteran revealed that he went on to discuss Kohli's contentious decision to bowl first in the high-pressure match against Pakistan at The Oval.
Even though he expressed his displeasure about the move to Kohli after becoming head coach, Shastri insisted that he backed the 29-year old's judgement in that particular episode as well as numerous other decisions afterwards. According to the seasoned campaigner, he likes to provide only suggestions and Kohli reserves the right to implement them as the captain is always the 'boss'.
Kohli will re-unite with Shastri when India embark on what is shaping up to be a gruelling tour of South Africa. With plenty of options at their disposal, all eyes will be on the team management's preferred playing eleven when the first Test begins at Cape Town on January 5.
At the highest level of the game, it is important that the coach and captain form a symbiotic alliance. While the coaching staff should look to provide productive ideas to the skipper, the latter has every right to accept or reject them as he is the one at the helm of affairs on the field.