Former India player turned veteran commentator Aakash Chopra believes a congenial atmosphere is not mandatory for a team to be successful as well. However, his comments came as R Ashwin recently said that the current Indian team members are like colleagues and not friends, with Prithvi Shaw also saying something similar. Citing the example of the Australian side of the 1990s and early 2000s, AB de Villiers recently added that players don’t need to get along well for the team to be dominant as well.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra concurred with De Villiers’ views, saying: “He said the absolutely correct thing as the successful Australian team, they didn’t really like each other as much, which is okay, but they were unstoppable as soon as they entered the ground. This happens in not one but a lot of teams. Teams don’t need to have a family atmosphere for them to be successful.”
While recalling his time with the Delhi Ranji team, he also pointed out that the atmosphere was not too dissimilar from the Australian side as well, saying:
“I played for many years for Delhi. My extremely close friends were also part of that dressing room but the overriding feeling was that you are on your own – do your own job and everyone was trying to move forward. It was an atmosphere of cut-throat competition where you want everyone to score runs but yourself to score the most.”
However, Chopra also added that players were not trying to shorten others’ careers but to lengthen theirs as well. He also said that healthy competition is a must for any good team. On the other hand, Aakash Chopra also highlighted that the Rajasthan Ranji Trophy-winning team had a contrasting dressing room atmosphere as well.
“I saw the opposite thing in Rajasthan when I was a part of them for two-three years. There I saw everyone was happier when the guy next to them was happy. This was the happiest environment among all the dressing rooms I have been a part of, he concluded. “What is the difference? Both were extremely successful dressing rooms. Delhi was probably slightly less successful because we won only one Ranji Trophy and Rajasthan won two successive years. You are either a part of an extremely successful dressing room or a dressing room that has a lot of successful people.”