Kohli is the boss and support staff prepares the team, says Shastri

Head coach Ravi Shastri has called Virat Kohli the “boss” of Indian cricket and said the support staff is there to “take the burden off” the skipper.

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during a training session.   -  Vivek Bendre

Head coach Ravi Shastri has called Virat Kohli the “boss” of Indian cricket and said the support staff is there to “take the burden off” the skipper.

Kohli has been at the heart of India’s world-record 12 Test victories in a row on home soil.

Coronavirus lockdown: Take it seriously, don't step out, says Virat Kohli  

“The captain is the boss, I always believe that. The job of the coaching staff, as far as I’m concerned, is to prepare the guys in the best possible way to be able to go out there and play brave, positive, fearless cricket,” Shastri said.

Shastri was speaking to former England captains Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton and Rob Key during a Sky Cricket Podcast.

"He controls the show"

“The captain leads from the front. Yes, we are there to take off the burden but you leave him to do his job in the middle. The captain sets the tone and is encouraged to set the tone. In the middle, he controls the show.”

Shastri, who took over as the head coach in 2017, largely attributed India’s march to top of the ICC Test rankings to Kohli.

He also spoke about how Kohli’s relentless focus on fitness rubbed on to his teammates.

“When you talk about fitness, the leadership came from the top and that is Virat. He is not a guy to mess around.

Shastri: Ongoing break a welcome rest for Team India players  

“He woke up one morning and said if ‘I want to play this game I want to be the fittest player in the world and compete against the best in all conditions’ and he let his body go through one hell of a lot.”

In recent years, Kohli is one of the very few regulars of the team to have played almost non-stop, across formats.

“It was not just the training but the sacrifices he made with his diet. I could see that change happening all the time. He got up one day and said ‘Ravi, I’m vegetarian!’

“When he sets those standards, it rubs off on others. Test cricket for us is the biggest form. It’s the benchmark. We want to set standards,” Shastri said.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos