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Interview: "India lack a genuine all rounder" - Ravi Shastri

A short interview with former Indian cricketer and current commentator Ravi Shastri.

Exclusive 09 May 2014, 16:05 IST

Ravi Shastri

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the evergreen Ravi Shastri (courtesy of Vodafone’s Super Fan contest).

Ravi Shastri is someone who’s been extremely active with Indian cricket – both on the field and off the field with his duties for the BCCI.

During this short interview, I had the opportunity of asking him a few questions to which he replied very elaborately.

With the rapid changes in international cricket and the hectic schedule of the teams, should the Indian team opt for the strategy of having different set of teams for the 3 different formats?

I don’t think there’s any need for that because MS Dhoni is in total control of the team. If you have a player good for one format and not so, for the other, then that’s a different issue altogether.

Whereas Dhoni has the command over all the formats and so, there’s really no need for that right now.

For the young aspiring cricketing all-rounders out there, why should they become an all rounder ? What are the advantages? Furthermore, you yourself were an all-rounder, was it hard to consistently perform both with the bat and the ball?

See, being an all-rounder, the advantage is that you can fit into any format. An all-rounder is an extremely important part of a line-up for any side, for all formats. See the problem with the Indian team today is that we lack a genuine all rounder – it’s a big handicap.

Personally, I would say that I was at the peak of being an all-rounder for 4 years and then I struggled to keep both departments going. For 4-5 years, both came easy but my problem started when I started opening the batting for India, then it became difficult to continue bowling.

So, basically, at some point of an all-rounder’s career, he would have to decide whether he has to emphasise more on his batting or bowling!

Yes, more so if the all rounder is opening the batting because then the pressure to perform with the bat is much greater.

What is the reason behind your charismatic and dynamic personality? How have you maintained your fitness through these years, especially post retiring?

*Laughs* I do a lot of walking and drink a lot of water. Best part after playing cricket is covering cricket and doing live-stuff on the cricket field (commentary job) – it keeps my fitness going and keeps me stay in touch with the game. This keeps me busy and helps me stay fit.

So that concluded the short interview I had with Ravi Shastri, explaining the obstacles of an all-rounder’s career and why it’s important for an all-rounder to know his strength areas.

Adding to Ravi Shastri’s point of views, India has indeed had issues with regard to finding a genuine all rounder. Ravindra Jadeja has been part of the team for the last 5-6 years but his batting skills have time and again been questioned solely for the reason that he’s a little ‘immature’ when it comes to playing the big shots. He certainly has the talent to be a genuine all rounder, no doubt about that but he has played some very crucial knocks for the team but it’s consistency that he currently lacks.

The point on which we can really discuss upon is - should India opt for different teams for different formats? With the 2015 World Cup less than a year away, what should be India’s strategy going into it? Do you echo Shastri’s views that India’s fine with MS Dhoni as the leader for all the formats or do you have a different view?

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