‘The learning, if you are a student of the game, is never-ending’

Be it for the nostalgically inclined keen to know more about Sunil Gavaskar or Imran Khan, or the current fans invested in Kane Williamson or Rohit Sharma, Shastri offers insights in his direct style.

Ravi Shastri

The remembrance of Ravi Shastri is linked to his booming voice that was often the acoustic background to India’s cricketing highs. His latest accessory may be the coach’s hat with the national team but often it is Shastri the commentator that seems to define his overall personality.

Lost in this trope is a truism: Shastri was a fine cricketer who maximised his limited talent and was intrinsic to Indian cricket for a decade before his dodgy knees curtailed his career in the 1990s. The former India star’s association with cricket at the highest level harks back to 1981 and in the ensuing 40 years, he has forged links with team-mates and rivals, be it as a player, a fellow commentator or as a present coach.

All that knowledge with a personal touch is evident in his book Star Gazing in which he profiles leading cricketers ranging from Sir Garry Sobers to the latest generation head-lined by Virat Kohli. Veteran sports writer Ayaz Memon assisted Shastri in this endeavour while the latter gives a ringside view of a vast pool of players, mentions what made them click and weaves in a few anecdotes culled from his interactions.

Be it for the nostalgically inclined keen to know more about Sunil Gavaskar or Imran Khan, or the current fans invested in Kane Williamson or Rohit Sharma, Shastri offers insights in his direct style and as he mentions in the introduction: “The learning, if you are a student of the game, is never-ending.”

From the tome

Vivian Richards was simply the best batsman I have played against or seen. In the last half-century, at least, no one has dominated the bowling quite like him. With or without helmet, he was a master blaster in the truest sense of the term.

Some young sceptics question his greatness, saying he scored just over 8,000 runs and averaged a shade over 50, when quite a number of batsmen from the modern era have achieved better stats. But this overlooks the fact that Richards scored over 3,000 runs in the World Series Cricket at an average of over 60 against bowlers like Dennis Lillee, Len Pascoe, Max Walker, Imran Khan, Mike Procter and Clive Rice.