We have slowly and unexpectedly come to like Ravi Shastri very much

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Once upon a time, we didn’t much care for Ravi Shastri. Now we do. And it isn’t just his habit of wearing the worst sunglasses in the entire galaxy.

As a commentator, Shastri was terrible. A relentless purveyor of booming cliché, he’d have been easy to ignore if he hadn’t also been so loud and omnipresent.

Then we saw him on The Verdict and were like, “Oh, okay, turns out this guy isn’t a complete idiot.”

And after that he became involved with the Indian national team.

Shastri’s stints as India’s director of cricket and coach have brought many events and public pronouncements. We have liked some and disliked others, but all have in some way contributed to the main reason why we very much like him now.

The reason why we like Ravi Shastri is because he is quite incredibly Ravi Shastri-y. This may seem a small and obtuse thing, but it absolutely enough for us.

An example.

Last week Shastri was interviewed by Donald McRae for the Guardian. At one point he commented on having had Covid recently.

“It was funny because in my 10 days I didn’t have a single symptom barring a little sore throat,” he said. “I never had any temperature and my oxygen level was 99% all the time. I didn’t take any medication through 10 days of my isolation, not a single paracetamol. I tell the guys: ‘Once you’re double jabbed, it’s a bloody 10-day flu. That’s it.’”

We put it to you that if you know Ravi Shastri at all, it is impossible to read those words without hearing them in his voice.

Boom, boldness, bombast, belligerence (all the Bs). Those few sentences hold the very essence of Shastri.

He is a man of deafening certainty; a man almost cartoonish in character.

Elsewhere in that article, Shastri announces that he would like to see “less and less bilateral T20 cricket.”

Strikingly, he said this just a week before his employer announced the coming year’s home fixtures. These include a five-match T20 series against South Africa among other things. (Vital preparation in a year that ends with a T20 World Cup? Or wholly unnecessary in a year that also begins with one?)

“In my seven years with this Indian team I don’t remember one white-ball game,” he added. “I don’t remember a single game. Test matches? I remember every ball. Everything. But the volume is too much. We beat Australia 3-0 in the T20 series. We beat New Zealand 5-0 in New Zealand. Who cares?”

Shastri has had more than his fair share of jobs within the BCCI and it’s tempting to see this as his employer speaking; implicitly expressing its contentment with a world where the IPL would be the only short format cricket in town.

Maybe it is. Maybe he’s operating as a mouthpiece. But it also seems like Shastri being Shastri; admitting that he doesn’t give a flying full toss about half of his job, even while he’s still doing that very job.

This is Shastri’s inherent Shastriness: his complete inability to do anything other than bulldoze through life with bulletproof conviction and the volume turned up slightly too high.

Obligatory reminder that there’s a King Cricket email you can get.

16 comments

  1. A quote from his new book:

    ‘I thought Anil Kumble’s handling of Monkeygate was commendable for its maturity and firmness. It was too sophisticated for the cribbing Aussies but earned respect of one and all elsewhere in the cricket universe.’

    Never change Ravi.

    1. Coincidentally or not, I was also wondering if Brian Blessed might not be a bad shout to play Ravi Shastri in his inevitable biopic.

      1. I was hoping someone would pick up on Brian Blessed not being a “bad shout”. Presumably a coach who isn’t a great fan of batsmen who FLASH, UH-OH, at a ball.

  2. A very lighthearted post butvhas the potential to kick off a serious discussion.

    I was wondering, why we vote for some politicians despite being clear that the alternatives would not be any worse.

    Its probably because the voters are in love with the “Boom, boldness, bombast, belligerence.”

    1. At least commentators have had professional careers before opining in their field. I guess an exception is Daniel Norcross, (excellent knowledge and memory of cricket). I met him once. He was devoid of all social graces, but I suppose we’ve all been guilty of that at some time or other.

      1. Forgive him. An Old Alleynian, as is Farage, Norcross is no doubt a product of his upbringing.

        As for Ravi Shastri, Daisy would be horrified at the lauding of his pompous, self-important, over-confident manner. Thank goodness Daisy has nodded off this evening after a fine meal, leaving me to clear the dishes and chew the fat with you folks.

      2. Ged, in case you missed it, there’s a reply to you at https://www.kingcricket.co.uk/its-the-final-round-of-qualifiers-for-the-bob-willis-trophy/2021/09/17/#comment-268025

        Andy Zaltzman very much did not have a professional cricket career prior to popping up on TMS, but his thoughts on that T20 finals day “six” (or “catch”, if you prefer) are actually worth reading, and have convinced me the umpires/referee ended may well have made the correct decision. For olde-times comparison, Bill Frindall wasn’t a pro, but he did play cricket for the RAF and once turned out for Hampshire Second XI.

      3. Naturally I like olde-times, Bail-Out. If we go back, my generalisation doesn’t hold water. Johnners.

      4. John “Mann’s inhumanity to Mann” Arlott couldn’t even make the Southampton Police XI when he was a bobby! (Though they were one of the strongest police sides in the land and featured a number of professional or ex-professional players, so despite his ferocious self-criticism when asked about his skills, it isn’t quite the indictment it sounds.) He did make a pre-War sub fielder appearance for Hampshire when they were short-handed against Worcs – got to watch a big unbeaten hundred for the Nawab of Pataudi from the proximity of mid-on and third man. Olde world indeed. It is claimed that, due to an apparent case of mistaken identity, a press report recorded his name as “P.C. Harlot” – a delightful touch if true.

  3. RAVI SHASTRI.

    In the county championship (tier 2) meanwhile, Essex have sealed the title with a one-day-and-thirty-two-minute innings win over hapless Northants, despite scoring just 170 in their only innings.

    Can we expect a hobbling points deduction being CloudFM county ground-bound for 2022?

  4. Yes, his 4Bs are difficult to ignore, but I’ve always been liked him. He’s a smart cookie and knows his cricket.

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