Former Indian cricketer Saba Karim has said that head coach Rahul Dravid’s role will be important when it comes to maintaining a healthy environment in the team following the recent off-field incident in Indian cricket. Despite having dominance in Test cricket, Indian cricket has come under the scanner for their off-field issues.
After Virat Kohli’s abrupt sacking as ODI captain and contradictory statements made by him as well as BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, a fresh controversy took place when Ravichandran Ashwin revealed some inner incident including how he received very little backing during the Kohli-Shastri era in his recent interview with ESPNCricinfo.
Speaking on YouTube channel Khelneeti, Karim said: “Very difficult to maintain a healthy team environment when such things come out (Ashwin’s statement on Shastri). Rahul Dravid’s role will be very important. Captain shouldn’t feel under pressure because of such developments.”
However, Team India will begin their tour of South Africa later this week with the first Test set to take place at SuperSport Park on Boxing Day. During the interview, Ashwin also shared how he felt ‘crushed’ after former coach Shastri’s statement on Kuldeep Yadav post the 2019 Sydney Test. Kuldeep, who replaced an injured Ashwin for the Sydney Test, grabbed a five-wicket haul in his maiden Test Down Under as well. And, post his brilliant show, Ravi Shastri stated in the press conference where he claimed Yadav as India’s No.1 spinner in overseas conditions.
While responding to this, R Ashwin said: “I hold Ravi bhai in high esteem. We all do. In that moment, though, I felt crushed. Absolutely crushed. We all talk about how important it is to enjoy your team-mates’ success. And I was happy for Kuldeep. I have not been able to get a five-for but he has a five-for in Australia. I know how big it is. Even when I have bowled well [at other times], I haven’t ended up with a five-for. So I am genuinely happy for him. And it’s an extremely happy occasion, to win in Australia.”
He further added: “But if I have to come and partake in his happiness, and the success of the team, I must feel like I belong there. If I feel like I am being thrown under the bus, how am I supposed to get up and come for a party to enjoy the team’s or team-mate’s success? I went back to my room and then I spoke to my wife. And my children were there. So we were able to, you know, shrug it off, and I still made it to the party, because, end of the day, we had won a massive series.”
While commenting on the same, former India player Nikhil Chopra said that R Ashwin had every right to be disappointed with the comments, citing that one can’t do different treatment to different players in the team. However, Ashwin has been going through a sublime form for the last 12 months and he will try to continue that in the upcoming series against South Africa.
Chopra said: “Shastri labelled Kuldeep Yadav as the best overseas spinner. While at times you need to say these things to give confidence to a player, you need to ensure you don’t disrespect other members of the team. Ashwin must be disappointed. You cannot have different treatments for different players.”