India head coach Ravi Shastri, has rebuffed reports claiming rift between skipper Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma, stating that a contrast in outlook on team matters should not be deemed as a conflict.
“I feel it is absolute nonsense,” Shastri told Gulf News after India’s tour of the Caribbean. “Listen, I have been around the dressing room for the last five years. I have seen how the boys have played, and how they have complemented the team and know their work ethic. I have been there with them, and I know the way they play.
“If that [a rift] was the case, why would Rohit get five hundreds in the World Cup? Why would Virat do what he is doing? How would they have partnerships together?”
following the men in blue’s early exit from the World Cup 2019, several reports surfaced suggesting a possible rift between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, indicating the team had been split into two groups. Before travelling to the Caribbean in July, Virat Kohli unequivocally rubbished the reports. Stating it was disrespectful to feed off lies and overlook facts.
Ravi Shastri, who was reinstalled as head coach last month, shed light on that announcement, stating a difference of opinion in the team was always there, given that the management is open to fresh views on strategies.
“In a side when you have 15 players, there will always be times when there will be opinions that will be different,” said Shastri. “That is what is needed. I don’t want everyone toeing the same line. You have got to have discussions and someone might then think of a fresh strategy, which has to be encouraged.
“You have to give the guys the opportunity to express themselves and then decide what is best. Sometimes, it might be the junior most player in the team who may come up with a strategy that we hadn’t even thought of, and we need to bring that to the table. So these should not be seen as a conflict.”
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were India’s top run getter in the quadrennial event, cumulating a combined 1091 runs. The duo has 17,100 runs between then in ODIs, averaging 65.72 and have been a crucial part of India’s limited overs success.
“When a team is playing in this fashion over five years, it is important that you get behind the team and be positive rather than try and create any trouble,” Shastri added.